• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    Here’s the 2019 Booker Prize longlist (with almost no Americans, for a change).

    Emily Temple

    July 23, 2019, 7:01pm

    Today, the (newly-Man-less) Booker Prizes announced the longlist for this year’s award, one of the most prestigious in the world.

    Of the 13 books that make up the “Booker Dozen,” as the longlist is sometimes called, eight are by women and five are by men. The longlist includes two former Booker Prize winners (Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie) and one debut novel, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer, as well as Valeria Luiselli’s first novel written in English.

    For the first time since the rules were changed in 2014 to allow publishers to submit any book written in English and published in the UK—i.e., enter the Americans, as the prize was previously limited to citizens from Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland—the US has almost no presence on this longlist. (Its only representative is Lucy Ellmann, who was born in Evanston, IL, but moved to the UK as a teenager.) This may or may not have anything to do with the growing tide of complaints about American domination from English authors and publishers, who last year petitioned the Booker Prize organizers to reverse the rule change.

    The longlist was selected from a total of 151 novels submitted to the judges, all of them published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019. The panel of judges was comprised of founder and director of Hay Festival Peter Florence (Chair); 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.

    In the press announcement, Chair of Judges Peter Florence advised:

    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 favorites; they are all credible winners. They imagine our world, familiar from news cycle disaster and grievance, with wild humor, deep insight and a 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.

    Well, then you better get cracking. Here’s the full longlist:

    Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)

    Read Atwood on how she came to write The Handmaid’s Tale or read a “walking interview” with her here.

    Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)

    Read one of Barry’s short stories, or an interview with Barry here.

    Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)

    Listen to an interview with Braithwaite here.

    Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)

    Read an interview with Ellmann here.

    Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)

    Read an interview with Evaristo here.

    John Lanchester (UK), The Wall (Faber & Faber)

    Read Lanchester in conversation with Joseph O’Neill about the fate of humanity here.

    Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)

    Find out the five most important books in Levy’s life.

    Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)

    Read Luiselli on the world after the 2016 US election, or on the choices people make when coming to America, or read an interview with her here.

    Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)

    Read Obioma on the book that formed him here.

    Max Porter (UK), Lanny (Faber & Faber)

    Read Max Porter and Catherine Lacey in conversation (about death, writing, and musical theater) here.

    Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)

    Find out the books that have been most important to Rushdie’s life, or listen to a great interview with him here.

    Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)

    Read Shafak on ways of knowing, her grandmother, and the other women in her life.

    Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)

    Read Winterson on making Christmas custard with Kathy Acker, or on why she decided to rewrite Shakespeare.


    The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 3rd at a morning press conference. The shortlisted authors will each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.

    The 2019 winner will be announced on October 14th at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall. They will receive £50,000 and major international recognition. According to the Booker Prizes press release, in the week after the announcement of the 2018 Booker Prize winner, Anna Burns’s Milkman, sales of the novel “increased by 880% from 963 in the week prior to the announcement to 9,446 in the week following the announcement, then a further 99% (9,446 to 18,786) the following week. The total number of copies of Milkman sold, across all formats, is currently 546,500. Milkman has also now sold in nearly 40 languages, both in Europe and throughout Asia.” Good luck to all the longlisted authors.

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

    %d bloggers like this: