The nominations for the Booker Prize 2020 were announced on Tuesday, with six books included in the shortlist. Four women – Indian-origin author Avni Doshi, Diane Cook, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Maaza Mengiste – are on the list, along with two men, Douglas Stuart and Brandon Taylor.
The shortlisted writers represent the United States, Scotland, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. The winner will be announced on November 17. The prize money is £50,000.
The jury comprises Margaret Busby, editor, literary critic and former publisher; Lee Child, author; Sameer Rahim, author and critic; Lemn Sissay, writer and broadcaster; and Emily Wilson, classicist and translator.
Busby said the novels on this year’s shortlist range in setting from an unusual child growing up in working-class Glasgow in the 1980s, to a woman coping with a post-colonial nightmare in Zimbabwe. “Along the way we meet a man struggling with racism on a university campus, join a trek in the wilderness after an environmental disaster, eavesdrop on a woman coping with her ageing mother as they travel across India and in an exploration of female power discover how ordinary people rose up in 1930s Ethiopia to defend their country against invading Italians. It’s a wondrous and enriching variety of stories, and hugely exciting as well,” she added.
Doshi, born in New Jersey, now lives in Dubai, according to her website. She has a BA in Art History from Barnard College in New York and a Masters in History of Art from the University College London. She was awarded the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013. Burnt Sugar/Girl in White Cotton is her first novel. In 2019, the novel was long listed for the Tata First Book Prize.
Here is the full list:
- The New Wilderness, Diane Cook
- This Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga
- Burnt Sugar , Avni Doshi
- The Shadow King, Maaza Mengiste
- Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart
- Real Life , Brandon Taylor