Booker Prize Shortlist 2020 Announced: Four Debut Novelists Make It

Debut novelists dominated the shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize. The shortlist was announced by the judges on Tuesday. While star authors like Hilary Mantel and Anne Tyler did not make the list. Four of the six shortlisted books are from first-time writers, three of whom are American, while the fourth holds dual Scottish and American nationality. Four of the shortlisted books are by women.

The nominated debuts include Douglas Stuart’s “Shuggie Bain,” a violent tale of a child growing up in 1980s Scotland; and Brandon Taylor’s “Real Life,” about a Black gay graduate student navigating campus life. Diane Cook’s “The New Wilderness,” set in a dystopian future in which almost all of the natural world has been destroyed; and Avni Doshi’s “Burnt Sugar,” about an artist’s struggles to cope with her aging mother, are the other two debuts on the list. The other nominees are Tsitsi Dangarembga, Maaza Mengiste.

The Booker Prize, the UK’s most prestigious literary award, is open to any novel written in English by an author of any nationality. Commenting on Mantel’s omission, judge Lee Child said: “We thought it was an absolutely wonderful novel, no question about it… but there were books that were better, that’s all I can say personally.”

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“The shortlist of six came together unexpectedly, voices and characters resonating with us all even when very different,” said Margaret Busby, chair of this year’s judges. “We are delighted to help disseminate these chronicles of creative humanity to a global audience.”

The 2020 shortlist:

  • Diane Cook – The New Wilderness
  • Tsitsi Dangarembga – This Mournable Body
  • Avni Doshi, – Burnt Sugar
  • Maaza Mengiste, -The Shadow King
  • Douglas Stuart – Shuggie Bain
  • Brandon Taylor – Real Life

The winner of the prize will be announced on 17 November.

You can have a look at the Booker Prize 2020 longlist here.

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