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Booker Prize Longlist ‘Defined by its Freshness’ as Nominees Revealed
Esi Edugyan, chair of the 2023 judges, said each of the 13 novels "cast new light on what it means to exist in our time." / BY Reuters / August 2nd, 2023
A novel written from the perspective of a neurodivergent protagonist is among the 13 books making up the 2023 Booker Prize longlist.
The prestigious British prize recognizes pieces of fiction from around the world.
This year a third of the list is comprised of Irish authors — the first time this has happened.
The selection was made from 163 books published between October 1 2022 and September 30 2023 that were submitted to the Booker Prize Foundation by publishers.
Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow’s debut novel All The Little Bird-Hearts, which uses the author’s extensive personal experience with autism, is among those on the list.
Canadian author Esi Edugyan (nominated in 2018 for Washington Black), chair of the judges, said this year’s list “is defined by its freshness, by the irreverence of new voices, by the iconoclasm of established ones.”
“All 13 novels cast new light on what it means to exist in our time, and they do so in original and thrilling ways,” she said.
“Their range is vast, both in subject and form: they shocked us, made us laugh, filled us with anguish, but above all they stayed with us.
“This is a list to excite, challenge, delight, a list to bring wonder.
“The novels are small revolutions, each seeking to energize and awaken the language. Together — whether historical or contemporary — they offer startling portraits of the current.”
Nigerian, Irish, Canadian, American, British and Malaysian authors have all been recognized this year.
Irish author Sebastian Barry joins a group of 10 other writers who have been nominated for the Booker Prize at least five times.
His novel Old God’s Time, about a murder investigation which leads a retired policeman to confront his past, is on the list this year.
Other Irish authors to feature include Elaine Feeney for How To Build A Boat, Paul Lynch for Prophet Song, and Paul Murray with The Bee Sting. (Murray was longlisted in 2010 for novel Skippy Dies.)
Including the authors who have been listed this year, 37 Irish writers have been recognized by the Booker Prize, making Ireland the country that has produced the most nominees, relative to population size, in the prize‘s history.
Sarah Bernstein, who was born in Canada and lives in Scotland, was recently named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and her book Study For Obedience, about the rise of xenophobia, has made this year’s longlist.
Ayobami Adebayo has become the fifth Nigerian novelist to be nominated for her work A Spell Of Good Things, which is an examination of class and desire in modern day Nigeria.
Tan Twan Eng, who was nominated for The Gift Of Rain in 2007 and The Garden Of Evening Mists in 2012, features on the list for The House Of Doors, which draws on the life of writer Somerset Maugham.
Two stories exploring grief have also been longlisted — Chetna Maroo’s debut novel Western Lane and Sian Hughes’s book Pearl, which evokes themes explored in the medieval poem of the same name.
Other authors include Jonathan Escoffery, who has been nominated for his debut novel If I Survive You, Paul Harding for This Other Eden and Martin MacInnes for his novel In Ascension.
The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity which has been rewarding outstanding fiction for over five decades.
The winner of the International Booker Prize 2023 was Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov.
Reporting by PA Media