Three African Authors, Others Longlisted for 2021 Booker Prize
By Victoria Okafor
Three African authors have been enlisted on the 2021 Booker Prize longlist. This was disclosed by the organisers who recently released the 13-man longlist for the 2021 edition of the annual award. These longlisted African authors include Somali-British novelist, Nadifa Mohammed, for 'The Fortune Men'; and South African authors, Damon Galgut, for 'The Promise', and Karen Jennings, for 'An Island'.
The Booker Prize awards a cash prize of £50,000 for each work of fiction in English to a writer of any nationality, published in the UK. The prize has seen a just representation of African authors in the 52nd year of history. A Nigerian writer and former Booker Prize-shortlisted author Chigozie Obioma is one of the judging panel for the Booker Prize 2021.
Being her third novel, Nadifa Mohammed’s 'The Fortune Men' is set in Cardiff Tiger Bay in the early 1950s, and follows a man who must prove his innocence in the wake of a gruesome murder charge. The novel, which was published in May 2021 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House, has received glowing praise from Junot Diaz and Women’s Prize-winning, author Kamila Shamsie.
Dalmon Galgut, who has been shortlisted twice in the past for the Booker Prize, was nominated this year for his ninth novel, 'The Promise', which centers on a White South African family who must fulfill a promise made to their Black maid. The book has received positive appraises from The New Yorker, Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.
Karen Jennings' 'An Island', her fourth novel, was written with support from the Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship in 2015. It follows an unsettling discovery by old lighthouse keeper of the unconscious body of a refugee on his beach. Jennings' win may appear dearly to many because her book was published by Karavan Press, an Indie-African publisher based in Cape Town. The worth of that kind of visibility for an African publisher cannot be undermined.
Also longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize are former winner and Nobel Laureate, Kazuo Ishiguro for his latest novel, 'Klara and the Sun', and American novelist, Rachel Cusk, for 'Second Place'.
Other authors that make the longlist include Anuk Arudpragasam, for 'A Passage North'; Nathan Harris, for 'The Sweetness of Water'; Mary Lawson, for 'A Town Called Solace'; Patricia Lockwood, for 'No One is Talking About This'; Richard Powers, for 'Bewilderment'; and Sunjeev Sahota, for 'China Room'.
A shortlist of six will be announced on September 14, and the winner announced in November.