The longlist for the 2021 Booker Prize has been announced. The 13 books on this year’s longlist were chosen by the 2021 judging panel: historian Maya Jasanoff (chair); writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams.
The list was chosen from 158 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. The Booker Prize for Fiction is the leading prize for literary fiction written in English and is open to works by writers of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.
- A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
- Second Place by Rachel Cusk
- The Promise by Damon Galgut
- The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
- Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
- An Island by Karen Jennings
- A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson
- No One Is talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
- The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed]
- Bewilderment by Richard Powers
- China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
- Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
- Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
In collaboration with technology specialist Jellybooks, the longlisted titles are available to explore via a dedicated online 2021 Booker Prize Magazine. Powered by Jellybooks’ new interactive online platform, the magazine enables readers to learn more about each book and read a sample. Read the 2021 Booker Prize Magazine.
What the judges said
Maya Jasanoff, chair of the 2021 judges, says:
‘One thing that unites these books is their power to absorb the reader in an unusual story, and to do so in an artful, distinctive voice. Many of them consider how people grapple with the past – whether personal experiences of grief or dislocation or the historical legacies of enslavement, apartheid, and civil war. Many examine intimate relationships placed under stress, and through them meditate on ideas of freedom and obligation, or on what makes us human. It’s particularly resonant during the pandemic to note that all of these books have important things to say about the nature of community, from the tiny and secluded to the unmeasurable expanse of cyberspace.
Reading in lockdown fostered a powerful sense of connection with the books, and of shared enterprise among the judges. Though we didn’t always respond in the same ay to an author’s choices, every book on this list sparked long discussions amongst ourselves that led in unexpected and enlightening directions. We are existed to share a list that will appeal to many tastes, and, we hope, generate many more conversations as readers dig in.’
Gaby Wood, Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, adds:
‘In recent years Booker Prize longlists have drawn attention to various elements of novelty in the novel: experimentalism of form, work in unprecedented genres, debut authors. This year’s list is more notable for the engrossing stories within it, for the geographical range of its points of view and for its recognition of writers who have been working at an exceptionally high standard for many years. Some have already been rewarded with prizes (a Nobel here, a Pulitzer there). Two are debut novelists. Many have fallen within the Booker’s orbit before. To see them brought together, an to hear from them in these books, is to know that literature is in the most capable and creative of hands.’
The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 14 September and the winner on Wednesday 3 November.
Listen to the brilliant Booker Prize podcast with Joe Haddow.
For more information, visit the Booker Prize website.