Booker Prize shortlist: Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie among authors competing for literary honour

Winner will be announced on Monday 14 October

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 03 September 2019 09:38
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Margaret Atwood was shortlisted for her sequel to The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood was shortlisted for her sequel to The Handmaid's Tale

The shortlist for the Booker Prize 2019 has been announced, with former winners Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie among the authors competing for the prestigious award.

The six shortlisted authors – four women and two men – were announced on 3 September by the 2019 Chair of Judges Peter Florence, at a press conference at the British Library in London.

The 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019.

The 2019 shortlist is as follows:

Margaret Atwood (Canada) – The Testaments (Chatto & Windus)

Lucy Ellmann (UK/USA) – Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)

Bernardine Evaristo (UK) – Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)

Salman Rushdie (UK/India) – Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)

Elif Shafak (Turkey/UK) – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)

Mr Florence commented: “Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity.”

“The common thread is our admiration for the extraordinary ambition of each of these books. There is an abundance of humour, of political and cultural engagement, of stylistic daring and astonishing beauty of language. Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity. We have a shortlist of six extraordinary books and we could make a case for each of them as winner, but I want to toast all of them as “winners”. Anyone who reads all six of these books would be enriched and delighted, would be awe-struck by the power of story, and encouraged by what literature can do to set our imaginations free.”

Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, added: “It was hard to watch the judges narrow down their longlist to this shortlist: they were so committed to all 13 of the books they’d chosen just over a month ago that the discussion was intense. Still, these six remain extraordinary: they bring news of different worlds; they carry a wealth of lives and voices; they’re in conversation, in various ways, with other works of literature. I think it’s fair to say that the judges weren’t looking for anything in particular – they entered this process with an open mind – but this is what they found: a set of novels that is political, orchestral, fearless, felt. And now, by association, those six will be in fruitful conversation with one another.”

The list was chosen from 151 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019, by a panel of five judges.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.

The 2019 winner will be announced on Monday 14 October at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall and broadcast by the BBC.

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