The Booker Prize 2020 Longlist

Booker Prize 2020The Booker Prize 2020 longlist was announced on Tuesday. The 13 titles are:

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze
The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
Such a Fun Age Kiley Reid
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler
Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward

How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang

I posted some predictions last weekend and successfully guessed three: Hilary Mantel (of course), Colum McCann and Douglas Stuart. Three correct guesses is a pretty good result considering there are eight mostly little-known debut novels on the longlist this year, a significant increase on last year’s longlist which was dominated by established names and previous prizewinners.

Even though I’m sad that ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell didn’t make the cut, it’s good to see a few more surprises this year. I already had my eye on ‘Shuggie Bain’ and I am also interested in ‘Love and Other Thought Experiments’ which dramatises different thought experiments devised by philosophers through the story of Rachel and Eliza, a couple who are trying to have a baby. ‘Such A Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid has already had strong reviews for its depiction of a young black woman accused of abducting the white toddler in her care at a shop in Philadelphia. I’ll also be looking out for Gabriel Krauze’s debut novel ‘Who They Was’ which is a work of autofiction based on his involvement in London gang violence and ‘The New Wilderness’ by Diane Cook – a dystopian novel about a mother-daughter relationship and the consequences of climate change.

What are your thoughts on this year’s longlist?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Booker Prize 2020 Longlist

  1. Well, I have two thoughts that spring to mind immediately. First, I do not want the prize shared again, which leads to the second, which is that I would love Hilary Mantel to win again because The Mirror and the Light is brilliant.
    However, the least favourite result would be her sharing it with one other. But why stop there? Even one quarter of the prize would be substantial for a debut novelist, and there are eight, it would amount to as much as an advance on a second book.
    I have not read any of the list apart from TMATL until now. I have started with the trilogy by Tsitsi having got hold of the two earlier novels, and on the actual shortlist I have read How much of these hills is gold by C Pam Chang, one of 8 first novels with an engagingly slanted look at the Californian gold rush. Very perceptive, clever and enlightening. Colum McCann was next on the pile and I will be keeping my own blog fully up to date with all the titles as I read. Though some are not due to be published until September, so i am in no hurry to finish the 8 that I have already got.

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    • Wow, you are making good progress! I agree that the prize shouldn’t be shared again – it would probably force a permanent change in the rules to the point where a prize wouldn’t be awarded at all if everyone is considered a winner…

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  2. I was so convinced Hamnet was going to be on it that in my head the longlist had already been announced with it on.
    Strange things to be having delusions about.

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