This year’s shortlist for the prestigious Booker prize is the award’s most diverse yet and has been hailed by a former winner as “groundbreaking”.
The six authors shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction are Diane Cook, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Avni Doshi, Maaza Mengiste, Douglas Stuart and Brandon Taylor.
Four of the shortlisted authors are women and four are writers of colour. Four of the shortlisted titles also come from independent publishers.
The six books range from the story of a journey to India to unpick an unsettling mother-daughter relationship, to the harsh realities experienced by a marginalised family in 1980s Glasgow.
Margaret Busby, chair of the 2020 judging panel, said they read 162 books and that many of them conveyed “important, sometimes uncannily similar and prescient messages”.
She said: “The best novels often prepare our societies for valuable conversations, and not just about the inequities and dilemmas of the world − whether in connection with climate change, forgotten communities, old age, racism, or revolution when necessary − but also about how magnificent the interior life of the mind, imagination and spirit is, in spite of circumstance.
“The shortlist of six came together unexpectedly, voices and characters resonating with us all even when very different. We are delighted to help disseminate these chronicles of creative humanity to a global audience.”
Last year’s winner, Bernardine Evaristo, who won the prize jointly along with Margaret Atwood, said in a tweet she was “so excited by this groundbreaking shortlist for the 21st century”.
She also said: “It’s all about who’s in the room and the value they place on different kinds of literature. If you’re looking for fresh perspectives and narratives, surely you’re going to find it among the most underrepresented voices?”