the long read
The Booker prize longlist is out
Now is your moment to either get reading madly, or do a quick swot of the nominees and their creations
Public service announcement: this year’s Booker prize longlist is out. Now is your moment to either get reading madly, or do a quick swot of the nominees and their creations and casually name-drop a couple of them at your next dinner party. Fake it till you read it, right?
This year, the "Booker Dozen" — that’s 13 titles — is heavy on women authors, eight in all making the grade. They include former Booker prize winner Margaret Atwood for The Testaments, her yet to be released follow-up to mega-hit The Handmaid’s Tale (1985). The other previous Booker recipient in the pile is Salman Rushdie for his also unreleased work, Quichotte, a retelling of the 17th-century Miguel de Cervantes classic, Don Quixote. Rushdie’s satire and Atwood’s sequel are both out in September.
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Nigerian-British writer Oyinkan Braithwaite is the only debut novel to make the list — not surprising given the slew of other awards it’s been chosen for, including the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The nominated books we’ve got our eye on are Lanny by Max Porter, for a dose of magical realism set in a village in England, and the always wonderful Turkish writer Elif Shafak’s latest novel, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.
The Man Who Saw Everything by Joburg-born Deborah Levy is also one to look out for. Her last work of fiction, Hot Milk, was a sexy, trippy treat — and her more recent works of nonfiction, Things I Don’t Want to Know and The Cost of Living, were lucid, sparkling gems.
Oh, and for sheer novelty value, we’ve got to hand it to the judges for nominating Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport. The Booker judges said: "The unstoppable monologue of an Ohio housewife in Lucy Ellmann’s extraordinary Ducks, Newburyport is like nothing you’ve ever read before." They were obviously referring to the fact that it’s over 1,000 pages — and pretty much made up of eight sentences. Brave readers, take your marks.
The 2019 Booker prize shortlist (six books from the longlist) will be announced on September 3 and the winner on October 14.
The full list is …
• Margaret Atwood — The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
• Kevin Barry — Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
• Oyinkan Braithwaite — My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
• Lucy Ellmann — Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
• Bernardine Evaristo — Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
• John Lanchester — The Wall (Faber & Faber)
• Deborah Levy — The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
• Valeria Luiselli — Lost Children Archive (4thEstate)
• Chigozie Obioma — An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
• Max Porter — Lanny (Faber & Faber)
• Salman Rushdie — Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
• Elif Shafak — 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
• Jeanette Winterson — Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)