Margaret Busby and Lemn Sissay were announced as judges of the Booker Prize 2020 on January 6, 2019.
The Booker Prize for Fiction, founded in 1969, 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 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 2020 cycle of the prize kicked off on Monday, January 6 when the judges were announced. The panel will be chaired by Margaret Busby, editor, literary critic and former publisher; and consists of: author Lee Child; author and critic Sameer Rahim; writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay; and classicist and translator Emily Wilson.
Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “Judging the Booker Prize is a collective act of investigation and understanding: seeking the best in new fiction and being receptive to its many possibilities. This year’s five judges are, in engagingly different ways, expert readers of the world. Their powers of perception have broken barriers in their respective fields, and I’m looking forward to knowing what their minds will find when they join forces.”
Chair of judges Margaret Busby said: “For more than half a century the Booker Prize has saluted brilliant and thought-provoking writing. I am honoured and delighted by this challenging opportunity to contribute to the judging process alongside such a great panel.”
The ‘Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in July 2020 and the shortlist of six books in September. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on 27 October 2020 at London’s Guildhall.
The photos used in this blog were taken by Luke Daniels and Hamish Brown.