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Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie novels among Man Booker Prize 2019 longlistees

The 2019 longlist for Britain’s most prestigious literary award has been announced and it includes books by two former winners.

Among them is Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments” which is the anticipated sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” due to be published in September.

atwood testaments
Image: Screengrab from penguin.co

This is the sixth time that the Canadian novelist has been nominated for the British literary prize, which she won in 2000 for “The Blind Assassin”.

To this date, little is known about “The Testaments” except that it is set 15 years after “The Handmaid’s Tale” and is narrated by three female characters.

“Spoiler discretion and a ferocious non-disclosure agreement prevent any description of who, how, why and even where. So this: it’s terrifying and exhilarating,” said the prize’s judges in a joint statement.

The longlist also features Indian author Salman Rushie, whose novel “Midnight’s Children” won the Booker Prize in 1981.

He is now nominated for “Quichotte”, a modern-day reworking of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” telling the story of an aging traveling salesman who falls in love with a TV star.

Other longlisted authors include British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak for “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”, which details the memories of a murdered sex worker in Istanbul; and British author Deborah Levy for “The Man Who Saw Everything”, praised by the jury for its “playful and complex structure.”

The 13-book longlist also includes “An Orchestra of Minorities” by Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, which is loosely based on the “Odyssey”; “Lost Children Archive” by Mexican-Italian writer Valeria Luiselli, which follows the journey of several Mexican children as they attempt to cross into the United States; and comic thriller “My Sister, The Serial Killer” by Nigerian novelist Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Chair of the judges Peter Florence urged people to discover all 13 nominated books, emphasizing the eclectic nature of this year’s selection.

“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…. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language,” he said in a statement.

This year, the Booker longlist was chosen from 151 novels by a panel of five judges, including former publisher and editor Liz Calder, novelist and essayist Xiaolu Guo, writer Afua Hirsch and pianist and composer Joanna MacGregor.

The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 3, and the winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, who will receive £50,000 (around $62,000), will be revealed at a ceremony in London on Oct. 14. JB


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Man Booker Int’l Prize 2019 longlist dominated by female writers


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