Yesterday the longlist for one of the most prestigious literary honours, the 2019 Booker Prize, was announced. To absolutely no one’s surprise, three Nigerian authors made the list of 13 people: Oyinkan Braithwaite, Chigozie Obioma and Bernardine Evaristo.
Bernardine Evaristo, a British-Nigerian, made the list for her eighth book, Girl, Woman, Other; Chigozie Obioma for his second novel, An Orchestra of Minorities; and Oyinkan Braithwaite for her Women’s Prize-shortlisted debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer
The 13 novels were selected from 151 submissions. Also long-listed are former winners: Margaret Atwood for her The Handmaid’s Tale sequel, The Testaments; and Salman Rushdie for Quichotte. The shortlist will be out on September 3, and the winner will be announced on October 14.
This is the first nomination for Evaristo and Braithwaite, and the second for Obioma, following his 2015 shortlisted debut, The Fishermen. Braithwaite’s nomination makes her the youngest candidate for the £50,000 prize this year.
Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other
Released a few months ago, Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.
Chigozie Obioma for An Orchestra of Minorities
An Orchestra of Minorities tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Written in the style of the Igbo literary tradition, Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about destiny and determination.
Oyinkan Braithwaite for My Sister, The Serial Killer
Hilarious and deliciously twisted, My Sister, The Serial Killer tells the story of the complex relationship between a murderous yet glamorous Lagosian fashion designer and her responsible older sister, who’s always ready with bleach and rubber gloves to help cover up a crime.
According to the Booker Prize Foundation literary director Gaby Wood, the longlist “shows the incredible range of what’s being written today. There are familiar names here writing at the height of their powers, there are young writers of exceptional imagination and daring, there is wit, incisive political thought, stillness and thrill. And there is a plurality that shows the making of literature in English to be a global endeavour.”
Commenting on their selections, the judges said, “There are no favourites; they are all credible winners. They imagine our world, familiar from news-cycle disaster and grievance, with wild humour, deep insight and a keen humanity. These writers offer joy and hope. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language. They are exacting, enlightening and entertaining.”
Former publisher and editor Liz Calder, novelist Xiaolu Guo, musician Joanna MacGregor, writer Afua Hirsch, and Hay Festival director Peter Florence make up the judging panel.
Here is the full longlist:
- Frankissstein, Jeanette Winterson
- The Wall, John Lanchester
- Girl, Woman, Other, Bernadine Evaristo
- Lanny, Max Porter
- The Man Who Saw Everything, Deborah Levy
- The Testaments, Margaret Atwood
- Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellmann
- An Orchestra of Minorities, Chigozie Obioma
- 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, Elif Shafak
- Night Boat to Tangier, Kevin Barry
- Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli
- My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Quichotte, Salman Rushdie
The shortlist will be out on September 3rd, followed by a ceremony in London on October 14th where the winner will be announced.