The Booker prize has been running for 50 years. In an exciting initiative, the Two Rivers Book Festival is giving you the opportunity to survey the field. And then share your opinions of them as the longlist becomes a shortlist (3 September) and the final winner (£50,000 prize) is announced on 14 October. There will also be a chance for you to win a signed copy of the winning book.
Our spur for this enterprise is that Two Rivers patron, the distinguished publisher Liz Calder, is one of the Booker judges this year. And some time early in the new year we will be staging an event where Liz will reflect on the judging experience, in the company of others from the mysterious world of publishing.
How you can join in – and qualify for our prize
Leading up to the 14 October announcement of the winner, there are many ways you can join in. Get in touch and join the national debate. The best contributor will win the prize of a signed copy of the winning book. What do we want?
1 You may well have a reaction to the longlist. Have you read any of them already? If so, what did you think? Are there books you’ve read recently that you think should have been on the longlist?
2 Can you spot the winner already? Have a punt.
3 Which of the 13 books do you think will make the shortlist of six? Let us have your informed guess – any time before the announcement on 3 September.
4 You might want to have a look at the books themselves – dip into them a bit before perhaps ordering one from the library or buying one in the Halesworth bookshop. If so, we are lodging reference copies in Halesworth library (open Mon 9.30-12, Tue & Wed 9.30-5.30, Thu closed, Fri 9.30-6, Sat 9.30-5, Sun 10-3). Other bookshops and libraries are available.
5 Do you have any general views about the Booker prize, or literary prizes in general? Let us have them as well.
6 Scroll to the ‘Comments’ section at the bottom of this page to tell us your thoughts…
Keep reading these pages for updates.
But before you join the race, the runners and riders.
The 2019 longlist – a Booker’s dozen
More about the books and the authors here
Wednesday 4 September
The Booker judges have whittled the longlist of thirteen books down to a shortlist of six. Four of them from the giant conglomerate Penguin Random House. Four woman authors, two men; two big hitting previous Booker winners; many countries represented. Here they are.
Margaret Atwood: The Testaments – despite the fact this much anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is not published until 10 September
Lucy Ellmann: Ducks, Newburyport – the longest (1,000 pages) from the smallest publisher, Norfolk-based Galley Beggar Press
Bernardine Evaristo: Girl, Woman, Other – the only UK author
Chigozie Obioma: An Orchestra of Minorities – one of two longlisted books set in Nigeria
Salman Rushdie: Quichotte – Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children won the best of Bookers, but this latest has its critics (‘bloated’ said one)
Elif Shafak: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World – from Turkey’s leading author
Liz Calder with the shortlisted books in Jarrolds, Norwich
Photo credit Louis Baum
So let’s have your votes, and your views. Our prize – a signed copy of the winning book – is still to be won.