The 2020 Booker Prize Longlist: 8 Debut Authors and a Possible Third Win

The 2020 Booker Prize Longlist: 8 Debut Authors and a Possible Third Win

We all love a book list and there’s no list more prestigious than the annual Booker Prize longlist.

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.

The list was chosen from 162 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020. The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

It was no surprise to see Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & The Light on the list. It’s the third book in Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy, with both previous novels having won the prize. If she wins, she’ll be the first author in history to win the prize three times.

One lovely surprise for us was seeing Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age make the list. We had her in the office to record a podcast when she was in Australia promoting the book and she’s an absolute delight, and very deserving of all the success she’s had with this book, which is also her debut.

In fact eight of the nominees are debut authors. Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation said, “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 authors will be released in September, with the winner announced in November. Until then, here’s some excellent reading recommendations for you.

The 2020 Booker Prize longlist in full:

Diane Cook – The New Wilderness

Tsitsi Dangarembga – This Mournable Body

Avni Doshi – Burnt Suga

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

Have you read any of the books on this list? Which ones do you plan to read?


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