Earlier today the Booker Prize longlist was announced. The Booker is one of the most prestigious awards in the English-speaking world. It’s awarded annually to “the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.”
This year, the judges are Guardian columnist Afua Hirsch, publisher Liz Calder, novelist Xiaolu Guo, and composer Joanna MacGregor. The panel is chaired by Peter Florence, creator of the Hay Festival.
The longlist is below. Congrats to all of these incredible novelists!
By Margaret Atwood (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
“When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over.”
Read Siobhan Adcock’s prediction that The Testaments will be about climate change.
Night Boat to Tangier
By Kevin Barry (Canongate Books)
“It’s late one night at the Spanish port of Algeciras and two fading Irish gangsters are waiting on the boat from Tangier. A lover has been lost, a daughter has gone missing, their world has come asunder – can it be put together again?”
My Sister, The Serial Killer
By Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic Books)
“When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse.”
This novel made it to our “Best Books of November 2018” list.
By Lucy Ellmann (Galley Beggar Press)
“Latticing one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of “happy couples”, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans? A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder—and a revolution in the novel.”
Girl, Woman, Other
By Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin General, Hamish Hamilton)
“Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.”
By John Lanchester (Faber & Faber)
“Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall―an enormous concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and are a constant threat. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders.”
Read our interview with John Lanchester.
The Man Who Saw Everything
By Deborah Levy (Penguin General, Hamish Hamilton)
“In 1988 Saul Adler (a narcissistic, young historian) is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. He is apparently fine; he gets up and goes to see his art student girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. They have sex then break up, but not before she has photographed Saul crossing the same Abbey Road.”
Lost Children Archive
By Valeria Luiselli (Harper Collins, 4th Estate)
“A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. A mother, a father, a boy and a girl, they head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico.”
Read our review of Lost Children Archive.
An Orchestra of Minorities
By Chigozie Obioma (Hachette, Little Brown)
“Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, An Orchestra of Minorities tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge.”
By Max Porter (Faber & Faber)
“Chimerical, audacious, strange and wonderful – a song to difference and imagination, to friendship, youth and love, Lanny is the globally anticipated new novel from Max Porter.”
By Salman Rushdie (Vintage, Jonathan Cape)
“Inspired by the classic Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Quichotte is the story of an ageing travelling salesman who falls in love with a TV star and sets off to drive across America on a quest to prove himself worthy of her hand.”
10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World
By Elif Shafak (Penguin General, Viking)
“For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her.”
By Jeanette Winterson (Vintage, Jonathan Cape)
“In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love – against their better judgement – with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI.”
Read more over at the official Booker Prize website.
Amy Brady is the Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago Review of Books and Deputy Publisher of Guernica Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Oprah, The Village Voice, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, McSweeney's, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @ingredient_x.