Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood in 2019 Booker longlist

Booker prize, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, longlist, Quichotte, nominated, The Federal, English news website
Salman Rushdie (left) and Margaret Atwood (right). Photo: Facebook.

British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie’s yet-to-be-published novel ‘Quichotte’ has made it to the longlist of this year’s Booker Prize.

Rushdie, 72, has earlier won the Booker in 1981 for ‘Midnight’s Children’. Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, who had earlier bagged the award in 2000 for ‘Blind Assassins’, is another former winner on the list. Her 2019 nominated work, ‘The Testaments’, is a sequel to her acclaimed book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

This year’s list was chosen from 151 novels published in the UK or Ireland between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, the five-member selection panel announced on Wednesday (July 24).

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Other names on the longlist included Kevin Barry’s ‘Night Boat to Tangier’, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s ‘My Sister, The Serial Killer’, Lucy Ellmann’s ‘Ducks, Newburyport’, Bernardine Evaristo’s ‘Girl, Woman, Other’, John Lanchester’s ‘The Wall’, Deborah Levy’s ‘The Man Who Saw Everything’, Valeria Luiselli’s ‘Lost Children Archive’, Chigozie Obioma’s ‘An Orchestra of Minorities’, Max Porter’s ‘Lanny’, Elif Shafak’s ’10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World’, and Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Frankissstein’.

“If you only read one book this year, make a leap. Read all 13 of these. There are Nobel candidates and debutants on this list. 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 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. Really read all of them,” founder and director of Hay Festival Peter Florence, who chaired the panel, said.

Other members of the jury included former fiction publisher and editor Liz Calder; novelist, essayist, and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo; writer, broadcaster, and former barrister Afua Hirsch; and concert pianist, conductor, and composer Joanna MacGregor.

“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. The 2019 longlist is a testament to its extremely good health,” Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said.

Last year, Northern Irish writer Anna Burns won it for ‘Milkman’, which has sold around 546,500 copies in all formats since the award. The Booker prize for Fiction, established in 1969, awards writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland, and carries a cash prize of 50,000 pounds along with a specially bound edition of the winner’s book.

It is for the first time that the prize is supported by Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman’s charitable foundation Crankstart, instead of the Man Group which has been supporting it since 2002. The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 3, and the 2019 winner will be finally announced on October 14.

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