Atwood, Rushdie shortlisted for Booker Prize

Margaret Atwood’s (left) The Testaments and Salman Rushdie’s (right) Quichotte are among six novels shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.
Margaret Atwood’s (left) The Testaments and Salman Rushdie’s (right) Quichotte are among six novels shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON • Two previous winners, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, were shortlisted on Tuesday for the Booker Prize for the best English-language fiction to be awarded next month.

Canadian author Atwood has been nominated to the six-person list for The Testaments, her hotly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale due out later this month.

Judge Peter Florence said the book was "a savage and beautiful novel that speaks to us today with conviction and power. The bar is set unusually high for Atwood. She soars".

The upcoming novel was also long-listed on Tuesday for the Giller Prize, Canada's top literary award for fiction.

The Handmaid's Tale (1985) became an award-winning television series in 2017 and sales of the English-language edition have topped eight million copies worldwide.

Rushdie, who is nominated for Quichotte, won the Booker Prize in 1981 for his book Midnight's Children.

The tragicomic story, inspired by the classic Don Quixote, is the story of an ageing travelling salesman who falls in love with a television star and sets off to drive across America on a quest to prove himself worthy of her hand.

Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma also made the shortlist for An Orchestra Of Minorities - his second novel after The Fishermen, which was shortlisted in 2015.

  • THE SHORTLIST

  • • Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments

    • Salman Rushdie (Britain/ India), Quichotte

    • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) An Orchestra Of Minorities

    • Lucy Ellmann (United States/Britain) Ducks, Newburyport

    • Bernardine Evaristo (Britain), Girl, Woman, Other

    • Elif Shafak (Britain/ Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World

The book is about a chicken farmer in small town Nigeria and "is a tale of Odyssean proportions that makes the heart soar", judge Afua Hirsch said in the announcement.

Lucy Ellmann's 998-page Ducks, Newburyport, which is built around an Ohio housewife's monologue, could be the longest novel ever to win.

Judge Joanna MacGregor said it was about "the detritus and maddening complexity of domesticity".

Anglo-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo is shortlisted for Girl, Woman, Other - about the lives of black British families.

Elif Shafak, the most widely read female author in Turkey, brings Istanbul's underworld to life through the recollections of sex worker Tequila Leila in 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World.

The winner for this year's Booker Prize will be announced on Oct 14 in London.

Northern Irish writer Anna Burns won last year's prize for her novel Milkman, which tells the coming-of-age story of a young girl's affair with an older man.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2019, with the headline 'Atwood, Rushdie shortlisted for Booker Prize'. Print Edition | Subscribe