2021 Booker Prize Shortlist 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 Shortlist has been announced! Chosen from 158 novels, this year’s shortlist is comprised of 6 novels that span the globe, from South Africa to Sri Lanka to Cardiff and the United States. While novels by notable authors Kazuo Ishiguro and Rachel Cusk did not make this year’s shortlist, this year does marks Damon Galgut’s third time making the list with The Promise and Richard Powers second time with Bewilderment. They are joined by exciting newcomers to the Booker, Anuk Arudpragasam, Nadifa Mohamed, Maggie Shipstead, and Patricia Lockwood.

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 judges will reveal the winner during a prize ceremony at the BBC Radio Theatre on November 3rd. 

Chair of the judges, Maya Jasanoff, says of this year’s shortlist, “Some are acutely introspective, taking us into the mind of a Tamil man tracing the scars of Sri Lanka’s civil war, and an American woman unplugging from the internet to cope with a family crisis. Some enter communities in the throes of historical transformation: the Cardiff docklands in the early years of British decolonisation, and the veld around Pretoria in the last years of apartheid. And some have global sweep, following a mid-century aviator in her attempt to circumnavigate the planet, and a present-day astrobiologist raising a son haunted by climate change.…While each book is immersive in itself, together they are an expansive demonstration of what fiction is doing today.”

2021 Booker Prize Shortlist

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam

The Promise by Damon Galgut

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed

Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

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.