The literary heavyweights Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Elif Shafak all feature on the shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards.
The shortlist includes The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, Quichotte by Salman Rushdie, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak and An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma. Both Atwood and Rushdie have been recipient of the prize in the past.
“The common thread is our admiration for the extraordinary ambition of each of these books. There is an abundance of humour, of political and cultural engagement, of stylistic daring and astonishing beauty of language. Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity. We have a shortlist of six extraordinary books and we could make a case for each of them as winner, but I want to toast all of them as winners. Anyone who reads all six of these books would be enriched and delighted, would be awe-struck by the power of story, and encouraged by what literature can do to set our imaginations free,” said chair of judges Peter Florence.
The shortlist was chosen from 151 titles, with the eventual winner announced on Monday October 14 at an awards ceremony at Guildhall.
Last year’s winner Anna Burns sold 963 copies of her novel Milkman in the week before the prize – she sold 9,446 the week after. Her book, set in the Northern Ireland Troubles, has now sold more than 500,000 copies and been translated into 40 languages.
The prize rules were changed in 2013 to open it up to writers beyond the Commonwealth provided they wrote in English and published in the UK.