• Thu. May 30th, 2024

The Man Booker Prize 2023

ByEleanor Pritchard

Sep 30, 2023

The Man Booker Prize shortlist for 2023 has been announced, and this one is quite special – the shortlist exclusively contains first-time nominees, and two debut novels.

A little background on the Booker Prize itself: it was first awarded in 1969, and was created with the purpose of celebrating contemporary fiction which speaks to the modern day. It only selects books which the judges deem worthy of a place in the category of ‘great literature’. Originally the Booker Prize was open only to Commonwealth writers, but it now considers anyone, regardless of origin. It is awarded yearly to the best sustained work of fiction, written in English, and published in the UK and Ireland.

The Prize boasts previous winners such as Shehan Karunatilaka for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (2022 winner), Margaret Atwood for The Testaments (2019) and The Blind Assassin (2000), Hilary Mantel for Bring Up the Bodies (2012) and Wolf Hall (2009), Yann Martel for The Life of Pi (2002), Ian McEwan for Amsterdam (1998), Kazuo Ishiguro for The Remains of the Day (1989), and William Golding for Rites of Passage (1980).

This year’s impressive judging panel consists of Esi Edugyan as the chair (international bestselling author, shortlisted for the 2011 and 2018 Booker Prizes); Adjoa Andoh (renowned actor and director for both stage and screen); Robert Webb (award-winning actor and writer); James Shapiro (writer and Professor of English); and Mary Jean Chan (award-winning poet and Creative Writing lecturer).

Being shortlisted for such a prestigious award is quite the achievement at the best of times, but it’s particularly special to see exclusively new names coming forward amongst those recognised.

The 2023 shortlist is:

Study for Obedience, Sarah Bernstein.

If I Survive You, Jonathan Escoffery (debut novel).

The Other Eden, Paul Harding.

Prophet Song, Paul Lynch.

Western Lane, Chetna Maroo (debut novel).

The Bee Sting, Paul Murray.

The Booker Prize website describes the shortlist as containing “books that are grounded in modern reality, that shed light on shameful episodes in history and which imagine a terrifying future.” One common thread between all the shortlisted books is their varying and imaginative focus on the complex interactions between family and society, and each book is hugely relevant to many concerns our society faces today.

To find out more about the shortlisted (and longlisted!) books, you can check out the Booker Prize website for synopses and author information. Author and book reviewer Jen Campbell’s comprehensive review of all the longlisted titles is also well worth a watch! The Booker Prize winner is announced 26 November 2023.

0725 Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2007” by Mark Morgan Trinidad B is licensed under CC BY 2.0