Booker Prize Shortlist Highlights Stories Dealing with Life and Death in a ‘Year for Reading’

American writers Patricia Lockwood, Richard Powers and Maggie Shipstead were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary honors in the English-speaking world.

Lockwood, also known for her poetry, was selected for her first novel Nobody talks about it, while Pulitzer Prize winner and former Booker nominee Powers secured a spot on the list for Perplexity. Shipstead was shortlisted for her third novel, Large Circle. The Booker Prize was opened to writers outside the UK in 2014, provided their submissions are in English.
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The winner, who will take home $ 69,257 (£ 50,000) and gain international acclaim, will be announced on November 2.

Led by historian Maya Jasanoff, the judges said the global reach of the shortlisted books, both in their authors and in their contexts, was “transporting in a year when so many of us were confined to we”.

Three of the novels deal with race. Anglo-Somali writer Nadifa Mohamed Men of fortune, reimagining the life of Anglo-Somali man wrongly convicted and executed for murder in 1950s Wales, while South African writer Damon Galgut The promise follows the life of a white family in post-apartheid South Africa. The “hypnotic” novel by Anuk Arudpragasam, A North Passage, follows a Tamil survivor of the Sri Lankan civil war as he reflects on the trauma suffered by the caregiver of his grandmother.

Appropriate for fiction released during a global pandemic, each of the six “immersive stories” deals with “appropriately poignant” questions of life and death, the judges said. Perplexity and Nobody talks about it, for example, grappling with the intersections of grief and crises in the age of technology.

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Intertwined periods are a common stylistic theme among the shortlisted books. Shipstead Large Circle draws a parallel between the life of a female pilot who died in the 1950s and a 21st century actress playing in a movie about the aviator. from Arudpragasam A passage to the north covers the protagonist’s current return to his home country with memories of a traumatic past.

During a live broadcast, judges around the world, including Chigozie Obioma, a two-time shortlisted novelist by Booker and former Archbishop Rowan Williams, described the intensity of the reduction of 158 long-list books to just six during a pandemic. “It’s been a year of reading like no other,” said 2021 President Jasanoff. The “extremely introspective” nature of the shortlisted novels “reflects the experience of reading in confinement,” she said.

Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro was among the nominees on long list not to make the cut with his novel Klara and the Sun, astonish some spectators. British author The leftovers of the day won the award in 1989.

Last year’s Booker Prize winner for fiction was Douglas Stuart, for his first novel Shuggie Bath, about a young boy who grew up in poverty in the 1980s in Glasgow. that of Bernadine Evaristo Girl Woman Other and Margaret Atwood Wills were co-winners in 2019.

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