On 15th September The Booker Prize judges – Lee Child, Lemn Sissay, Sammer Rahim and Emily Watson, chaired by Margaret Busby – announced the 2020 shortlist.
As every year, to reduce the ‘Booker dozen’ to just six titles must have been an extraordinary challenge. But also a great adventure in reading.
As Margaret Busby says on The Booker Prize website:
“The scope of this year’s books has allowed us to luxuriate in skilful storytelling and to be surprised by what unheard voices have to articulate.”
which is a glorious recommendation for contemporary fiction writers, and a tantalising invitation to us readers.
This year’s Shortlist:
The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
Hardback, Oneworld, £16.99
At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary, urgent novel from a celebrated new literary voice.
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Paperback, Faber & Faber, £8.99
A tense and psychologically charged novel in which the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation lead us on a journey to discover where lives go after hope has departed.
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Paperback, Hamish Hamilton, £12.99
A love story. A story of betrayal. Not between lovers, but between mother and daughter. Laced with caustic wit, it unpicks the slippery cords of memory and myth that bind two women together, and hold them apart.
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
Paperback, Canongate Books, £9.99
Ethiopia 1935. With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life. A tale of womanhood and war during that transforms one woman’s remarkable experiences into a microcosm of conflict as a whole.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Hardback, Picador, £14.99
In early 1980s Glasgow, you had to fight to survive. As her family disintegrates, Agnes turns to drink. Only her son, Shuggie Bain, thinks he can help her from the pit of hopelessness. A novel that lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
Paperback, Daunt Books, £9.99
A deeply affecting story about the emotional cost of reckoning with desire, and overcoming pain. Wallace, a biochemistry student, is not only far removed from his childhood in Alabama, but keeps his feelings tightly guarded – until one intense and dramatic weekend.
The winner will be announced on the 17th November.
And, speaking of Booker Prize winners…
Bernadine Evaristo’s “The Emperor’s Babe”
Paperback, Penguin, £8.99
was republished earlier this year:
Silver-tongued and merry-eyed, this is a story in song and verse, a joyful mash-up of today and yesterday. Kaleidoscoping distant past and vivid present, The Emperor’s Babe asks what it means to be a woman and to survive in this thrilling, brutal, breathless world.
Margaret Atwood’s “Dearly, Poems”
Hardback, Vintage, £14.99
will be available in November:
“Dearly” is Atwood’s first poetry collection in over a decade. It brings together many of her most recognisable and celebrated themes, but distilled – from minutely perfect descriptions of the natural world to startlingly witty encounters with aliens, from pressing political issues to myth and legend.
And twice-winner Hilary Mantel‘s new collection of essays
“Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the London Review of Books”
Hardback, HarperCollins, £16.99
is published on 1st October.
Constantly illuminating, always penetrating and often very funny, interleaved with letters and other ephemera gathered from the archive, Mantel Pieces is an irresistible selection from one of our greatest living writers.
To order a copy of any of these titles, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0207 439 9921 – we look forward to hearing from you.