2021 Booker Prize Longlist Announced

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Pierce Alquist

Senior Contributor

Pierce Alquist is a transplanted New Yorker living and working in the publishing scene in Boston. Don’t worry if she fooled you, the red hair is misleading. She’s a literature in translation devotee and reviewer and lover of small, independent presses. A voracious traveler and foodie, you can find her in her kitchen making borscht or covered in red pepper paste as she perfects her kimchi recipe.

The 2021 Booker Prize Longlist has been announced! Chosen from 158 novels, this year’s longlist is comprised of 13 novels that span the globe from South Africa to Sri Lanka, with notable authors like Kazuo Ishiguro and Rachel Cusk, among others. First awarded in 1969, the Booker Prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland. The winner of the prize will receive £50,000 and each shortlisted author will receive £2,500. The shortlist will be announced September 14th and the winner will be announced November 3rd.

Chair of the judges, Maya Jasanoff, writes of this year’s longlist, “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. 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. Reading in lockdown fostered a powerful sense of connection with the books.”

2021 Booker Prize Longlist

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam

Second Place by Rachel Cusk

The Promise by Damon Galgut

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

An Island by Karen Jennings

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

China Room by Sunjeev Sahota

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

The panel of judges for this year’s award include 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.

Check out more of Book Riot’s coverage of the Booker Prize.