- 28 Jul 20
The favourite to win the prestigious literary award is currently Hilary Mantel, for the final instalment in her Wolf Hall trilogy.
In a year rife with American authors, Colum McCann is a bright light for Ireland on the longlist for the 2020 Booker Prize.
It was a great year for the Irish literary community; some incredible books by established Irish authors were released (Actress by Anne Enright; A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry), and Naoise Dolan and Niamh Campbell made waves with their respective debuts, Exciting Times and This Happy. It will be a disappointment to some to see McCann is the sole Irish name to make the longlist.
McCann' latest novel, Apeirogon, is about two fathers – one Palestinian, one Israeli – whose sons were killed in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The list is full of author's making their debuts, including Kiley Reid's Such A Fun Age – which Hot Press called "the first great novel of 2020."
The longlist was selected by editor, literary critic and former publisher Margaret Busby, who is also the chair of the judging panel, author Lee Child, author and critic Sameer Rahim, writer/broadcaster Lemn Sissay, and classicist and translator Emily Wilson.
"Each of these books carries an impact that has earned it a place on the longlist, deserving of wide readership," said Busby in a statement. "Included are novels carried by the sweep of history with memorable characters brought to life and given visibility, novels that represent a moment of cultural change, or the pressures an individual faces in pre- and post-dystopian society.
“Some of the books focus on interpersonal relationships that are complex, nuanced, emotionally charged. There are voices from minorities often unheard, stories that are fresh, bold and absorbing. The best fiction enables the reader to relate to other people’s lives; sharing experiences that we could not ourselves have imagined is as powerful as being able to identify with characters. Unplanned, our final selection encompasses both seasoned favourites and debut talents – a truly satisfying outcome.”
Check out the full longlist below.
Diane Cook (US) for The New Wilderness (Oneworld)
Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) for This Mournable Body (Faber & Faber)
Avni Doshi (US) for Burnt Sugar (Hamish Hamilton)
Gabriel Krauze (UK) for Who They Was (4th Estate)
Hilary Mantel (UK) for The Mirror & the Light (4th Estate)
Colum McCann (Ireland/US) for Apeirogon (Bloomsbury)
Maaza Mengistie (Ethiopia/US) for The Shadow King (Canongate)
Kiley Reid (US) for Such a Fun Age (Bloomsbury Circus)
Brandon Taylor (US) for Real Life (Originals, Daunt Books)
Anne Tyler (US) for Redhead by the Side of the Road (Chatto & Windus)
Douglas Stuart (Scotland/US) for Shuggie Bain (Picador)
Sophie Ward (UK) for Love and Other Thought Experiments (Corsair)
C Pam Zhang (US) for How Much of These Hills Is Gold (Virago)