Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood were announced the joint winners of the Booker Prize 2019 on October 14, 2019.
The Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom. The prize, first awarded in 1969, has been won by the Africans, Nadine Gordimer (1974), Ben Okri (1991), J. M. Coetzee (1999), and Chinua Achebe (2007). Those who have been shortlisted are Chinua Achebe (1987), Marie NDiaye (2013), Noviolet Bulawayo (2013), and Chigozie Obioma (2016).
The 2019 prize was judged by Joanna MacGregor, Concert pianist, conductor and composer; Xiaolu Guo, novelist, essayist and filmmaker; Afua Hirsch, writer, broadcaster and former barrister; Liz Calder, former fiction publisher and editor. This panel was chaired by Peter Florence the Hay Festival founder and director. Their longlist was announced on July 23 from 151 novels published in the UK or Ireland between October 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019 followed by the shortlist on September 3.
The judges of the 2019 Booker Prize have awarded the prize to two authors: Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other and Margaret Atwood for The Testaments. It isn’t the first time that the Booker Prize has been jointly awarded. It first happened in 1974 with Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton and then again in 1992 with Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth. Even though the rules were changed so that only one author could win the prize in 1992, the judges have ignored them and decreed the two authors as joint-winners.
Chair of the 2019 judges, Peter Florence, said: “This ten-month process has been a wild adventure. In the room today we talked for five hours about books we love. Two novels we cannot compromise on. They are both phenomenal books that will delight readers and will resonate for ages to come.”
Bernadine Evaristo is the first black woman to win the award for her book.
The two authors share the £50,000 prize as well as global recognition.