The 2021 Booker Prize longlist has just been announced, and it might just inspire which book you pick up next.
What’s on your summer reading pile this year? From Bella Mackie’s highly-anticipated debut novel, How To Kill Your Family, to Meg Mason’s ‘book of the summer’, Sorrow & Bliss, and The Receipts podcast’s honest and hilarious new book, Keep The Receipts – bookworms are, once again, spoilt for choice with brilliant releases to choose from.
But if you’re deciding on what books to add to the pile, the 2021 Booker Prize longlist has just been announced…
Last year, Douglas Stuart’s devastatingly beautiful debut novel, Shuggie Bain, won the Booker Prize, beating the likes of Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi and The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste. So, what does this year’s longlist look like?
The 13 books on the 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction longlist were selected by this year’s jusging panel: historian Maya Jasanoff (chair); writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams.
2021 Booker Prize for Fiction longlist
- A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam
- Second Place, by Rachel Cusk
- The Promise, Damon Galgut
- The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris
- Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
- An Island, Karen Jennings
- A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson
- No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood
- The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed
- Bewilderment, Richard Powers
- China Room, Sunjeev Sahota
- Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead
- Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford
The longlist features 1989 Booker winner, Nobel Prize winner, and three-time shortlisted author, Kazuo Ishiguro. It also includes previously shortlisted authors Damon Galgut, Richard Powers and Sunjeev Sahota. Nathan Harris and Patricia Lockwood are two debut novelists to make the list. And four independent publishers have longlisted titles, including a first for Holland House Books with An Island.
“One thing that unites these books is their power to absorb the reader in an unusual story, and to do so in an artful, distinctive voice,” Maya Jasanoff, chair of the 2021 judges, says. “Many of them consider how people grapple with the past – whether personal experiences of grief or dislocation or the historical legacies of enslavement, apartheid, and civil war. Many examine intimate relationships placed under stress, and through them meditate on ideas of freedom and obligation, or on what makes us human.
“It’s particularly resonant during the pandemic to note that all of these books have important things to say about the nature of community, from the tiny and secluded to the unmeasurable expanse of cyberspace.”
When will the 2021 Booker Prize winner be announced?
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday 14 September. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The 2021 winner will be announced on Wednesday 3 November in an award ceremony held in partnership with the BBC at Broadcasting House’s Radio Theatre. It will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, BBC iPlayer, BBC Arts, and BBC News Channel. The winner of the 2021 Booker Prize receives £50,000 and can expect international recognition.
If you’d like to get your hands on one of these books, or any other books you’ve had an eye on for a while, Bookshop.org supports independent booksellers with each sale.
Images: Booker Prize