Booker Prize 2023: Longlist announced with 10 first-time nominees and a new record for Irish authors

Prestigious literature prize reveals 13 nominees for 2023 competition

Nicole Vassell
Tuesday 01 August 2023 09:25 BST
Shehan Karunatilaka wins Booker Prize 2022 for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

The Booker Prize longlist for 2023 has been announced, featuring 10 authors who have never been featured before.

Launched in 1969, the Booker Prize is the world’s most influential prize for a single work of fiction.

Last year, the Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka won for his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. The book centres around the killing of a war photographer in Colombo in the 1990s and explores life after death amid a Sri Lanka beset by civil war.

This year’s longlist, comprised of 13 authors and titles, features four debut authors and six others who make their Booker longlist debut.

For the first time, the longlist has four Irish authors at once, making up a third of the list: Sebastian Barry, Elaine Feeney, Paul Lynch and Paul Murray.

Including those on this year’s longlist, 37 Irish writers have been recognised by the Booker Prize, making Ireland the country that has produced the most nominees, relative to population size, in the prize’s history.

The 2023 longlist also features a novel featuring a neurodiverse protagonist, written from personal experience.

The Booker Prize longlist for 2023 is as follows:

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ ̀(Nigerian) – A Spell of Good Things (Canongate)

Sebastian Barry (Irish) – Old God’s Time (Faber & Faber)

Sarah Bernstein (Canadian) – Study for Obedience (Granta Books)

Jonathan Escoffery (American) – If I Survive You (4th Estate)

Elaine Feeney (Irish) – How to Build a Boat (Harvill Secker)

Paul Harding (American) – This Other Eden (Hutchinson Heinemann)

Siân Hughes (British) – Pearl (The Indigo Press)

Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow (British) – All the Little Bird-Hearts (Tinder Press)

Paul Lynch (Irish) – Prophet Song (Oneworld)

Martin MacInnes (British) – In Ascension (Atlantic Books)

Chetna Maroo (British) – Western Lane (Picador)

Paul Murray (Irish) – The Bee Sting (Hamish Hamilton)

Tan Twan Eng (Malaysian) – The House of Doors (Canongate)

Booker Prize 2023 judges: Robert Webb, Adjoa Andoh, Esi Edugyan, James Shapiro, Mary Jean Chan

The longlist was selected by the 2023 judging panel, which is chaired by twice-shortlisted novelist Esi Edugyan. She is joined by actor, writer and director Adjoa Andoh; poet, lecturer, editor and critic Mary Jean Chan; author and professor James Shapiro; and actor and writer Robert Webb. 

“The list is defined by its freshness – by the irreverence of new voices, by the iconoclasm of established ones,” Edugyan said of the choices.

“All 13 novels cast new light on what it means to exist in our time, and they do so in original and thrilling ways. Their range is vast, both in subject and form: they shocked us, made us laugh, filled us with anguish, but above all they stayed with us. This is a list to excite, challenge, delight, a list to bring wonder. The novels are small revolutions, each seeking to energise and awaken the language. Together – whether historical or contemporary – they offer startling portraits of the current.”

From these 13 novels, a shortlist of six will be chosen and announced on Thursday 21 September. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.

The 2023 winner will be announced on Sunday 26 November at an award ceremony held at London’s Old Billingsgate. The winner receives £50,000 and a trophy designed by the late Jan Pieńkowski.

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