The winner of the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction will be chosen Monday from among six novels that explore the impact of personal and historical traumas on individual lives.
Two books by American authors are on the shortlist for the 50,000 pound ($57,000) award: Elizabeth Strout’s symphony of everyday lives “Oh William!” and Percival Everett’s novel about racism and police violence, “The Trees.”
The other contenders include Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo for the animal fable “Glory;” Irish writer Claire Keegan’s “Small Things Like These;” and “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” by Sri Lanka’s Shehan Karunatilaka.
British fantasy author Alan Garner — the oldest-ever Booker nominee — is on the list for Treacle Walker. Monday is his 88th birthday.
Former British Museum director Neil MacGregor, who is chairing the judging panel, says the books on the list “address long national histories of cruelty and injustice, in Sri Lanka and Ireland, Zimbabwe and the United States.”
The winner will receive their award from Camilla, the queen consort, during a ceremony at London’s Roundhouse. It is the first fully in-person Booker ceremony since the pre-pandemic event in 2019 and the first for literacy champion Camilla since her husband became King Charles III last month after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.
The event is also due to include a speech from singer-songwriter Dua Lipa about her love of reading, and a reflection from Turkish writer Elif Shafak on what the attack on novelist Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed onstage in August, means for writers around the world.
Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming writers’ careers. It was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers but eligibility was expanded in 2014 to all novels in English published in the U.K.
Last year’s winner was The Promise, by South Africa’s Damon Galgut.