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A look into the Longlist for International Booker Prize 2021

By Faazila Jabeen

A look into the Longlist for ‘International Booker Prize’ 2021.

Bibliophiles all around the world would definitely have caught the news that the longlist for the Booker Prize and The ‘International Booker Prize‘ for this year, 2021 has been released and for the newbies who are still wondering what all this is about and who are featured in the list here’s the deal. 

The Booker prize is awarded to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland. And for the novels that are translated from any other language to English, The ‘International Booker Prize ‘is given. All this rooted back in 1969 when publishers Tom Maschler and Graham C Greene got this idea and executed it and today it has taken full dimension and is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards in the field of literature and fiction.

The primary intention of honouring writers and novels with this prize is to cultivate readership of contemporary fiction among people and to encourage dormant writers to come out of their shell. This has also brought a new perspective on the genre of fiction and how reading plays an important role in our lives. 

Apparently, the ‘longlist’ also known as ‘The Booker Dozen’ for the Booker Prize 2021 was out on tuesday, 27th of July.

The novels on the list were:
  • A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam.
  • Second Place by Rachel Cusk.
  • The Promise by Damon Galgut.
  • The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.
  • An Island by Karen Jennings.
  • A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson.
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood.
  • The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed.
  • Bewilderment by Richard Powers.
  • China Room by Sunjeev Sahota.
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead and Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford.

These works of fiction have been selected for the longlist 2021. A panel of 5 members which includes renowned writers and editors, professor, actor and also an Archbishop. In a sea of talented writers and amazing books this ‘longlist’ was handpicked among 158 novels. 

And the novels on the ‘longlist’ for The International Booker Prize 2021 were:
  • I Live in the Slums by Can Xue, translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping.
  • At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Mocschovakis.
  • The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili, translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway.
  • The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell.
  • When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut, translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West.
  • The Perfect Nine: The Epic Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, translated from Gikuyu by VINTAGE, Harvill Secker.
  • The Employees by Olga Ravn, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken.
  • Summer Brother by Jaap Robben, translated from Dutch by David Doherty.
  • An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky, translated from German by Jackie Smith.
  • Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette.
  • In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale.
  • Wretchedness by Andrzej Tichý, translated from Swedish by Nichola Smalley.
  • The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard, translated from French by Mark Polizzotti. 

Winner for 2021

And the Winner for 2021 is, “At Night All Blood is Black” by David Diop, translated by Anna Mocschovakis. The book is about comradeship, strength, power and war beautifully crafted into a work of art that ignited discussions amongst the panel. It is observed that the novels on the list  for both fiction and translated versions are must reads especially during the pandemic when a significant number of people turned to books for solace.

These books hold much thought and profound ideas that mould human relationships and also the issues revolving around this world. These books bring together what people collectively experience as individuals. It may sound complicated but it is universally relatable. Human emotions such as identity crisis, displacement, conflict related death, intimate relationships, healing and grief are the ones that make us human and these books enclose them all. 

In this contemporary world we need voices that kindle other voices. We need words that incites our body, mind and spirit. Not only are these works of art beautiful but they speak truth. To be awarded the Booker Prize is an honour and to read these books is an adventure that everybody needs to take. An adventure that never ends.

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Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

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