Yet the Booker is my favorite prize. And, to me, this is the most interesting list in four or five years, because the famous writers are back. And it’s not American-dominated.
Under new sponsorship, the prize rules have changed to expand the geographic eligibility of nominees, if I understand correctly. All the books had to be written in English and published in the UK and Ireland this year. And that means one Turkish and two Nigerian writers made the list.
I am happy to say I am familiar with six of the authors: I have enjoyed books in the past by Margaret Atwood, Lucy Ellmann, Salman Rushdie Rushdie, Elif Shafak, John Lanchester, and Jeanette Winterson.
An award list should be as much fun as going to the races: we might want to bet on a favorite, or we might prefer a long shot. And even if we can’t read the Racing Form, we can certainly decipher the Booker Form again–if we can only find the books.
My husband usually reads the whole list, but not all are available in the U.S. yet. The Atwood, Ellman, Rushdie, and Winterson (and probably some of the others) won’t be published till fall. I do have a review copy of one, which makes me feel like an insider, though it’s a coincidence. I usually read the dead, but I’m perusing this book tonight…
Here’s the list:
Margaret Atwood (Canada) The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry (Ireland) Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria) My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK) Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo (UK) Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
John Lanchester (UK) The Wall (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy (UK) The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy) Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
Max Porter (UK) Lanny (Faber & Faber)
Salman Rushdie (UK/India) Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey) 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jeanette Winterson (UK) Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)
Let me know if you have any interest in these or have read them.