Four shortlisted books for 2019 Booker Prize

The shortlist for The Booker Prize 2019 – the leading prize for literary fiction written in English – has been announced, and we're very excited to have four books included on the list of six titles. 

Our four brilliant shortlisted books, from some of the greatest writers of our time, are: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, Quichotte by Salman Rushdie and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.

Completing this year’s shortlist are An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown) and Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (Galley Beggar Press). 

More about each of our shortlisted books

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

In her brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalised readers for decades in The Testaments. Picking up the story more than 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, Atwood’s latest work brings together the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 

The Booker Prize judges, who are among a very small handful of people to have read the book prior to publication, have described the story as ‘terrifying and exhilarating’.

Becky Hardie, Deputy Publishing Director for Chatto & Windus and editor of The Testaments, said: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale was on the Booker shortlist in 1986 and it’s a real excitement and pleasure to see its sequel on the list 33 years later. In chaotic times like these we need writers like Margaret Atwood more than ever. I hope this shortlisting will bring the benefits of her visionary wisdom to even more readers.’

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other is the eighth book by Bernardine Evaristo –  time and time again named as one of Britain’s best writers and a masterful commentator on contemporary British society. Teeming with life and crackling with energy, Girl, Woman, Other is a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood. Following the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters – mostly women, black and British – it tells the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Simon Prosser, Publishing Director of Hamish Hamilton and editor of Girl, Woman, Other, said: ‘Bernardine Evaristo is a wonder: a completely original writer with a dancing, fluid style and intelligence, fusing high and low, past and present, and history and imagination, in dazzling portraits of our here and now. The inclusion on the Booker shortlist of this essential chronicler of black lives in Britain is a cause for joy. Viva Bernardine!’

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

In Quichotte, internationally bestselling author Salman Rushdie – who previously won The Booker in 1981 for his second novel, Midnight’s Children – has created a dazzling Don Quixote for the modern age. The book is a tour-de-force that is both homage to an immortal work of literature and a modern masterpiece about the quest for love and family. It’s described by The Times as ‘a triumphant assault on the coarsened American sensibility…[A] packed, funny, melancholy masterpiece of a novel'.

Speaking of his shortlisting, Salman Rushdie said: ‘It has been nineteen years since The Moor’s Last Sigh made it to the shortlist, so I’m obviously delighted. I'm also happy to be chosen, alongside such terrific writers, to be part of an interesting, strong list.’

Bea Hemming, Acting Publishing Editor for Jonathan Cape, and editor for Quichotte, said: ‘Salman Rushdie is one of our greatest living storytellers, and no stranger to the Booker Prize of course. But it is a particular joy to see him shortlisted again for this, his fourteenth novel. Quichotte is a work of dazzling ingenuity, tenderness and wit; it is both a satire and a love story, a playful homage to Cervantes and an urgent book for our times. It shows a master storyteller at his most exuberant and inventive, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see it recognised by the Booker judges.’

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Described as ‘a work of brutal beauty and consummate tenderness,’ 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak is an extraordinary and intensely powerful work exploring the essence of life and death. 

Caught in the moment immediately following her death, the book’s protagonist, Leila, finds that whilst her consciousness begins to ebb, her brain cells do not completely shut down right away. Each minute that passes – 10 minutes 38 seconds, to be precise – brings a sensuous memory, and a recollection of the friends she made at each key moment in her life.

Venetia Butterfield, Publisher at Penguin General and editor of the book said: ‘I am thrilled to see Elif Shafak’s Ten Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World included on this year’s Booker shortlist. Elif is the bravest writer I know: a writer who gives voice to the voiceless, who champions free speech and the power of secularism. I’m delighted that her talent as one of the world’s great storytellers has been recognized by the Booker judges.’

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