It’s that exciting time of year again when the Booker Prize announces its longlist of books in the running to win the prestigious literary award.
The 13 books (The Booker Dozen) on this year’s longlist were selected by an esteemed panel of judges: historian Maya Jasanoff (chair); writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams.
The list was chosen from 158 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021.The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to works by writers of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.
This years list represents many diverse voices in fiction. Booker Prize chairperson Maya Jasanoff says: “One thing that unites these books is their power to absorb the reader in an unusual story, and to do so in an artful, distinctive voice. Many of them consider how people grapple with the past—whether personal experiences of grief or dislocation or the historical legacies of enslavement, apartheid, and civil war.”
There are two debut authors on the list, an impressive feat. Five of the novelists have been shortlisted for the prize before, including Kazuo Ishiguro who previously won the prize in 1989 for The Remains of the Day.
Maggie Shipstead also made the longlist for her novel The Great Circle, a fascinating tale of a female pilot in the 1950s, which we read and enjoyed earlier this year.
The shortlist of six books will be announced in September, while the winner of the Booker Prize will be announced in November. While we eagerly await this announcement, we have plenty more books to read!
The 2021 Booker longlist in full:
A Passage North, Anuk Arudpragasam
Second Place, Rachel Cusk
The Promise, Damon Galgut
The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris
Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
An Island, Karen Jennings
A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson
No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood
The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed
Bewilderment, Richard Powers
China Room, Sunjeev Sahota
Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead
Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford
Which books do you think will make the shortlist?