The Booker Prize 2020 Longlist Announced


The longlist for The Booker Prize 2020 has just been announced.

Widely regarded as the UK’s foremost literary award, The Booker Prize recognises the best novel written in English and published in the UK and Ireland that year. Founded in 1969, the prize was originally only open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers, however, since 2014, all English language writers from around the world became eligible.

A panel of experts are chosen annually to judge The Booker Prize. Judges for 2020 are writer and editor Margaret Busby (Chair), author and critic Lee Child, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, literary journalist Sameer Rahim, and classicist and translator Emily Wilson.

The longlist is comprised of thirteen books, otherwise known as ‘The Booker Dozen’, and is described by Wilson as an “excitingly diverse” list. The nominations from British writers are Love and Other Though Experiments (Sophie Ward), Shuggie Bain (Douglas Stuart), Who They Was (Gabriel Krauze) and The Mirror and the Light (Hilary Mantel).

The American contenders are Burnt Sugar (Avni Doshi), Real Life (Brandon Taylor), Such A Fun Age (Kiley Reid), Redhead by the Side of the Road (Anne Tyler), How Much of These Hills is Gold (C. Pam Zhang) and The New Wilderness (Diane Cook).

Finally, completing The Booker Dozen are The Shadow King by Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste, This Mournable Body by Zimbabwe’s Tsitsi Dangarembga and Apeirogon by Ireland’s Colum McCann.

Expressing his excitement about the list, Rahim stated: “The longlist is a collection of very different, but absolutely fascinating and brilliantly written works, that kept the judges absorbed on the long, lonely COVID nights.”

Lee Child added: “There are a tremendous number of debuts, first novels, here, which personally I’m not surprised about at all. First novels have got the passion and the energy and they tend to be things that people have thought about for years.”

Nominated novels are exposed to a global readership and are celebrated alongside best-sellers and literary favourites, including The Testaments (Margaret Atwood) and Girl, Woman, Other (Bernadine Evaristo), which were the joint winners of The Booker Prize in 2019.

The longlist will be narrowed down to a shortlist of six books, to be announced on the 15th September, with the winner being crowned on the 27th October.

The Booker Prize 2020 Longlist:

  • Love and Other Thought Experiments  (Sophie Ward)
  • The Shadow King (Maaza Mengiste)
  • Shuggie Bain (Douglas Stuart)
  • Burnt Sugar (Avni Doshi)
  • Who They Was (Gabriel Krauze)
  • The Mirror and the Light (Hilary Mantel)
  • This Mournable Body (Tsitsi Dangarembga)
  • Real Life (Brandon Taylor)
  • Apeirogon (Colum McCann)
  • Such A Fun Age (Kiley Reid)
  • Redhead by the Side of the Road (Anne Tyler)
  • How Much of These Hills is Gold (C. Pam Zhang)
  • The New Wilderness (Diane Cook)

Words by Catriona Mactaggart

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