Tsitsi Dangarembga, Maaza Mengiste, Kiley Reid, and Brandon Taylor are on the longlist for the Booker Prize 2020 announced on July 27, 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 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).
This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by 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 longlist from 162 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020.
Speaking about the longlist, Margaret Busby said: “Each of these books carries an impact that has earned it a place on the longlist, deserving of wide readership. Included are novels carried by the sweep of history with memorable characters brought to life and given visibility, novels that represent a moment of cultural change, or the pressures an individual faces in pre- and post-dystopian society. Some of the books focus on interpersonal relationships that are complex, nuanced, emotionally charged. There are voices from minorities often unheard, stories that are fresh, bold and absorbing. The best fiction enables the reader to relate to other people’s lives; sharing experiences that we could not ourselves have imagined is as powerful as being able to identify with characters. As judges we connected with these writers’ well-crafted prose, the mastery of detail, the arresting sentence, the credibility of the narrative arc, the ability to use to the full, the resources of storytelling. Unplanned, our final selection encompasses both seasoned favourites and debut talents ― a truly satisfying outcome.”
The full list of the writers, including the African/Black novelists in bold, and their books is;
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)
- Gabriel Krauze (UK), Who They Was (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
- Hilary Mantel (UK), The Mirror & The Light (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
- Colum McCann (Ireland/USA), Apeirogon (Bloomsbury Publishing)
- Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia/USA), The Shadow King (Canongate Books)
- Kiley Reid (USA), Such a Fun Age (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
- Brandon Taylor (USA), Real Life (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)
- Anne Tyler (USA), Redhead by The Side of The Road (Chatto & Windus, Vintage)
- Douglas Stuart (Scotland/USA), Shuggie Bain (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
- Sophie Ward (UK), Love and Other Thought Experiments (Corsair, Little, Brown)
- C Pam Zhang (USA), How Much of These Hills is Gold (Virago, Little, Brown)
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday, September 15 and the winner announced in November. The winner receives £50,000 and can expect international recognition. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.