The Booker Prize 2020 shortlist has been announced

·5-min read
Photo credit: The Booker Prize
Photo credit: The Booker Prize

From Good Housekeeping

Updated, published 15 September 2020:

The Booker Prize 2020 shortlist has been announced, and it features six must-read titles.

Margaret Busby, Chair of the 2020 judges, said of this year's shortlist:

"As judges we read 162 books, many of them conveying important, sometimes uncannily similar and prescient messages. The best novels often prepare our societies for valuable conversations, and not just about the inequities and dilemmas of the world − whether in connection with climate change, forgotten communities, old age, racism, or revolution when necessary − but also about how magnificent the interior life of the mind, imagination and spirit is, in spite of circumstance. The shortlist of six came together unexpectedly, voices and characters resonating with us all even when very different. We are delighted to help disseminate these chronicles of creative humanity to a global audience.

"The novels on this year's shortlist range in setting from an unusual child growing up in working-class Glasgow in the 1980s, to a woman coping with a post-colonial nightmare in Zimbabwe. Along the way we meet a man struggling with racism on a university campus, join a trek in the wilderness after an environmental disaster, eavesdrop on a woman coping with her ageing mother as they travel across India and in an exploration of female power discover how ordinary people rose up in 1930s Ethiopia to defend their country against invading Italians. It’s a wondrous and enriching variety of stories, and hugely exciting as well."

The 2020 winner will be announced in November and will receive £50,000.

The six shortlisted books are:

  • Diane Cook - The New Wilderness

  • Tsitsi Dangarembga - This Mournable Body

  • Avni Doshi - Burnt Sugar

  • Maaza Mengiste -The Shadow King

  • Douglas Stuart - Shuggie Bain

  • Brandon Taylor - Real Life

Original article, published 28 July 2020:

The Booker Prize is a literary award with a long-running prestige. The 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction was won jointly by The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo and now we have a better idea of who'll take the prize in 2020.

The longlist for the Booker Prize 2020 has been announced today (28 July) and it features authors including Hilary Mantel, Kiley Reid and Sophie Ward.

Photo credit: Booker Prize
Photo credit: Booker Prize

The list of 13 books was whittled down from 162 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020.

The full list is as follows:

  • Diane Cook - The New Wilderness

  • Tsitsi Dangarembga - This Mournable Body

  • Avni Doshi - Burnt Sugar

  • Gabriel Krauze - Who They Was

  • Hilary Mantel - The Mirror & The Light

  • Colum McCann - Apeirogon

  • Maaza Mengiste - The Shadow King

  • Kiley Reid - Such a Fun Age

  • Brandon Taylor - Real Life

  • Anne Tyler - Redhead by The Side of The Road

  • Douglas Stuart - Shuggie Bain

  • Sophie Ward - Love and Other Thought Experiments

  • C Pam Zhang - How Much of These Hills is Gold

Margaret Busby, Chair of the 2020 judges, 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.”

Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, added:

“When the judges had drawn up their longlist of 13 books, one of them said: ‘Out of interest, how many debuts are there?’ We counted. It was more than half the list. That’s an unusually high proportion, and especially surprising to the judges themselves, who had admired many books by more established authors, and regretted having to let them go. It is perhaps obvious that powerful stories can come from unexpected places and in unfamiliar forms; nevertheless, this kaleidoscopic list serves as a reminder.

"In this year of seismic change, visibility for new books published in the UK has been drastically low. So, however unintended the ratio, it’s especially heartening to know that some authors who have launched their careers in the midst of Covid-19 may now have a chance to reach the readers they deserve.”

The shortlist of six books will be announced on 15 September. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The 2020 winner will be announced in November and will receive £50,000.

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Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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