Chigozie Obioma was announced as one of the judges for the Booker Prize for Fiction 2021 on December 15, 2020.
The Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. Some of the previous African winners of the prize founded in 1969 have been Marlon James, Nadine Gordimer, J. M. Coetzee, and Ben Okri. In 2019, the prize was controversially awarded jointly to Bernadine Evaristo and another writer.
The 2021 cycle of the prize kicked off when the judges were announced on Tuesday. The panel will be chaired by historian Maya Jasanoff, and consists of: writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams.
Chair of judges, Maya Jasanoff said: ‘In the pandemic more than ever, reading fiction has been a great source of stimulation and solace. It’s both a pleasure and an incredible honour to get to roam the pages of this year’s Anglophone novels and shine a light on extraordinary books and writers — and to do so in the company of such accomplished fellow judges feels like a gift.’ The judging panel will be looking for the best work of long-form fiction, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021.
Followers of the African literary ecosystem will be familiar with Nigerian Chigozie Obioma the novelist behind the two Booker Prize shortlisted novels, The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019).
Obioma stated: “Truly truly honored to be on the judging panel for next year’s Booker prize. As one of the very lucky writers to have been nominated, I can attest to the life changing impact such a nomination can have on a writer’s career. I’m glad I get to help impact others. And what a great group led by @jasanoff with Horatio, Natascha and Rowan!”
The ‘Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in July 2021 with the shortlist of six books to follow in the autumn. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced in November 2021.