The Booker Prize 2020 longlist has seen eight debut novelists gain a place on the sought-after esteemed longlist, placing them alongside well-established authors such as Hilary Mantel and Anne Tyler.
Arguably, this year could be the most important for any authors nominated for the prestigious prize; the beginning of lockdown saw many people, previously too busy, able to rediscover a love for of reading that seems to be continuing past the height of restrictions.
It is further significant that of the thirteen nominees, nine are women, and four of the nominated novels come from independent publishing houses, showing a further push towards exploring new and unexplored and underrepresented literary sources. Making it onto the longlist for the Booker Prize is life-changing for some of these authors and their publishing houses; past winners have seen their sales go up by thousands in the days after the announcement.
This year’s longlist might be the most diverse yet, which sees a long-awaited welcome to books with new stories to tell and containing new exciting and original perspectives.
Margaret Busby, the chair of the judges, explained that ‘there are voices from minorities often unheard, stories that are fresh, bold and absorbing’. The importance of this cannot be understated when considering the surge of new readers over the past few months – it is time to bring a range of literature to the mainstream, rather than recycling the same authors and publishing houses when selecting nominees.
The 2020 longlist is as follows:
The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze
The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
Such a Fun Age byKiley Reid
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler
Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang