Today during a ceremony at the British Library which was streamed live on Facebook, The Booker Prize announced their shortlist. Peter Florence, founder and director of Hay Festival and the Chair of judges for the Booker Prize said, “They range these books on the shortlist, across acres of time and space and geographical location, culture and civilisation and they are like a complete compendium of wonders of the world.” Whittled down from the longlist, or ‘Booker Dozen’ as it is also known, the shortlist is made up of six great reads which are revealed below along with the comments from the judges.
Margaret Atwood – The Testaments
“There’s a strange pleasure in knowing the secret of this publishing juggernaut as it’s coupled with an exquisite agony in not being able to share anything about it. But what I can say is this, it’s a savage and beautiful novel and it speaks to us today all around the world with a particular conviction of power. The bar is set unusually high for Atwood and she soars over it.”
Lucy Ellmann – Ducks, Newburyport
“The unstoppable monologue of an Ohio housewife in Lucy Ellmann’s extraordinary Ducks, Newburyport is like nothing you’ve ever read before. A cacophony of humour, violence, and Joycean word play, it engages – furiously – with the detritus of domesticity as well as Trump’s America. This audacious and epic novel is brilliantly conceived, and challenges the reader with its virtuosity and originality.”
Bernadine Evaristo – Girl, Woman, Other
“A wonderful verse novel about the lives of black British women, their struggles, laughter, longings and loves. Evaristo manages to depict a vast collective of intergenerational stories moving through different spaces with a dazzling rhythm. Her prose is passionate, poetic, brimming with energy and humour. It is a great novel about womanhood and modern Britain.”
Chigozie Obioma – An Orchestra of Minorities
“Told in the wise and watchful, sometimes mischievous voice of the “chi” or Igbo spirit guardian of Chinonso, a poor poultry farmer, this is a profoundly humane epic love story. Loosely based on the Odyssey, the trials and joys of Chinonso’s journey exert a powerful hold on the reader’s imagination, head and heart. A magnificent, original and revelatory novel.”
Elif Safak – 10 Minuted 38 Seconds in This Strange World
“Elif Shafak’s audacious, dazzlingly original storytelling brings Istanbul’s seething underworld vividly to life via the haunting and tender memories of sex worker Tequila Leila, recently dumped for dead in a rubbish bin. A work of fearless imagination, the story takes the reader into the vertiginous world of its irresistible heroine, whose bloody-minded determination and fierce optimism make her an unforgettable character. Courageous and utterly captivating, this is a telling novel of our inglorious times.”
The overall winner of the Booker Prize 2019 will be announced in October, so stay tuned for news.