The 2020 Booker longlist is here

Chris Schluep on July 30, 2020
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The Booker longlist is here

The longlist for the 2020 Booker Prize was announced this week. Among the 13 novels selected is Hilary Mantel's third book in the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror & the Light. The previous two books in the series won the Booker—which means, if she wins again, Mantel will become the first person to win the prestigious prize three times.

The list, which was chosen by a panel consisting of Margaret Busby, Lee Child, Sameer Rahim, Lemn Sissay, and Emily Wilson, will be shortened to six in September. The winner will be announced in November. Novels that have been published in the United Kingdom or Ireland between October 2019 and September 2020 are considered.

Here is the complete Booker Prize longlist:


The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

A daring, passionate and terrifying novel about a mother’s battle to save her daughter in a world ravaged by climate change. 


This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga

In this tense and psychologically charged novel, Tsitsi Dangarembga channels the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation to lead us on a journey to discover where lives go after hope has departed. 


Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

This is a love story and it is a story about betrayal. But not between lovers—between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Avni Doshi tests the limits of what we can know for certain about those we are closest to, and by extension, about ourselves. (Currently only available in the U.S. on Audible.)


Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze

Who They Was is an urgent and electrifying work of autofiction: the first-hand account of a young man who has lived a life of violent crime, and who expresses it boldly, accurately, and at times even beautifully. (Currently unavailable in the U.S.)


The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion, and courage. 


Apeirogon by Colum McCann

In this epic novel—named for a shape with a countably infinite number of sides—Colum McCann crosses centuries and continents, stitching time, art, history, nature, and politics into a tapestry of friendship, love, loss and belonging.


The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

Ethiopia. 1935. With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid. Her new employer, Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. The Shadow King casts light on the women soldiers written out of African and European history. It is a captivating exploration of female power, and what it means to be a woman at war.  


Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the awkwardness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone "family," the complicated reality of being a grown-up and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.


Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Deftly zooming in and out of focus, Real Life is a deeply affecting story about the emotional cost of reckoning with desire, and overcoming pain.


Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

Redhead by the Side of the Road is an intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who sometimes finds those around him just out of reach—and a love story about the differences that make us all unique.


Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Laying bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride, Shuggie Bain is a blistering and heartbreaking debut, and an exploration of the unsinkable love that only children can have for their damaged parents.


Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward

Told in 10 interconnecting but self-contained chapters—each from a different character’s perspective—and inspired by some of the best-known thought experiments in philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind, Love and Other Thought Experiments is a story of love lost and found across the universe. (Currently only available in print in the U.S.)


How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang

How Much of These Hills is Gold is the story, sometimes gritty, sometimes dreamlike, of the arrival of Chinese-American immigrants to the US during the Gold Rush. This epic debut is about family and the search for both a home and a fortune.


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