Tsitsi Dangarembga, Maaza Mengiste, and Brandon Taylor are on the shortlist for the Booker Prize 2020 announced on September 15, 2020.
The Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded annually for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. Since it started in 1969, it has been won by four Africans, Nadine Gordimer (1974), Ben Okri (1991), J. M. Coetzee (1999), and Bernardine Evaristo (2019). Some of those who have been shortlisted are Chinua Achebe (1987), Abdulrazak Gumah (1994), Ahdaf Soueif (1999), Achmat Dangor (2004), Marie NDiaye (2013), and Chigozie Obioma (2015 and 2019).
Judging this year’s Booker Prize was a panel of five judges: Margaret Busby (chair), editor, literary critic and former publisher; Lee Child, author; Sameer Rahim, author and critic; Lemn Sissay, writer and broadcaster; and Emily Wilson, classicist and translator. This panel chose the Booker Dozen longlist from 162 novels published in the last year on July 27.
The shortlist revealed today has the following books;
Author (country/territory), Title (imprint)
- Diane Cook (USA), The New Wilderness (Oneworld Publications)
- Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe), This Mournable Body (Faber & Faber)
- Avni Doshi (USA), Burnt Sugar (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
- Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia/USA), The Shadow King (Canongate Books)
- Brandon Taylor (USA), Real Life (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)
- Douglas Stuart (Scotland/USA), Shuggie Bain (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
Tsitsi Dangarembga said: “it feels wonderful having being shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. It’s something every writer in the English language dreams of, I think, and it’s finally happened for me, after over thirty years of my career in writing so it’s been well worth the wait.”
Maaza Mengiste said, “It’s unbelievable! I’ve been shaking since I found out and after screaming for a really long time I just got very quiet. I can’t believe it, it’s deeply humbling. I’m so grateful and, you know, I didn’t expect any of this so I’m a bit speechless right now.”
Brandon Taylor said: “As a writer, the idea of readers coming to your work is what it’s all about and so, I’m so moved by it. I’m so moved by the idea that there would be other young writers who would pick up my book and allow it to become a part of their stories and maybe they will want to write because of it. I know that I was inspired to, sort of, pick up the pen by reading books that were important for me. So it’s just, I mean it’s a dream come true and I’m just really moved, yeah, and it’s fantastic.”
Each of these shortlisted authors receives £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner who receives £50,000 and international recognition will be announced on November 17.