The Booker Prize books literature 2020

Books: Here is the long-awaited 2020 Booker Prize shortlist

Four new authors are on the shortlist of six novels in line for ultimate literary award of the English-speaking world.

The Booker Prize books literature 2020

This week the judging panel for The Booker Prize, one of the biggest literary awards in the world, announced its shortlist of six novels for 2020.

Every year book lovers and writers around the world anticipate the release of The Booker Prize longlist, then the shortlist, and the ultimate accolade of the winner.

The Booker Prize has been one of the leading literary awards in the English-speaking world for over 50 years.

The Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to the best novels written in English and published in the UK. For works in English published internationally, there is the International Booker Prize.

Many on the long or short lists, or who have won it, have seen a transformation in their careers.

Well-known previous winners include Salman Rushdie with Midnight’s Children, Yann Martel with Life of Pi, and Bernardine Evaristo with Girl, Woman, Other.

Some of our most-loved authors have had work shine on The Booker Prize Shortlist, like Margaret Atwood for her work The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood has also won The Booker Prize several times.  

There are four first-time novelists on this year’s shortlist. The six books are:

‘The New Wilderness’ by Diane Cook

This heart-wrenching, passionate and daring debut novel tells the story of a brave mother’s struggle to save her child in a world ravaged by climate change. Described as “a deeply humane portrayal of a motherhood” and humanity, this novel is an extraordinary and necessary novel for our times.

‘This Mournable Body’ by Tsitsi Dangaremba

In this tense, dark and psychologically charged work, Dangaremba explores the deeply moving story of one young girl of a fledgling nation. She attempts to build a life for herself in a place seemingly abandoned by hope and humanity.

‘Burnt Sugar’ by Avni Doshi

Written with the sharp, caustic wit of Doshi and his limitless imagination, this debut novel invites readers into the world of a mother and daughter whose roles shift.

As Tara starts to forget things, like her maid’s wages and the fact that she left the gas on all night, her daughter is faced with the task of caring for a mother who never cared for her.

‘The Shadow King’ by Maaza Mengiste

Set in Ethiopia in the 1930s, this novel tells the story of the women soldiers written out of African and European war history. It sheds a light on the vital role that women played in the war, their female power and what it means to be a woman at war.

It follows the story of Hirut, a maid in an army officer’s house. The recounts the inspiring strength of this woman as she rebels against the deeply oppressive regime. In doing so she inspires other women to take up arms.

‘Shuggie Bain’ by Douglas Stuart

Described as “a blistering and heart-breaking debut”, this novel explores the story of a small boy names Shuggie Bain. Shuggie the only one of his mother’s children not to have abandoned her and her alcoholic ways.

This book challenges prejudice and injustice by exposing the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, the ultimate futility of pride. It also shows the powerful love that only a child can possess for their damaged parents.

‘Real Life’ by Brandon Taylor

Following the journey of Wallace, a young man in his fourth year of a biochemistry degree, this story is a deeply moving portrayal of true personal courage and strength. After hearing the news of his father’s death, Wallace’s life begins to fall apart.

He has to face his past trauma, pain, true feelings and his doubts about his future. This is an ultimately touching debut novel about overcoming pain and the emotional cost of reckoning with desire.

A panel of judges will choose the 2020 Booker Prize Winner from the shortlist and announce the winner on 17 November.