Six titles made the shortlist for this year's Booker Prize for Fiction, considered one of the most prestigious prizes for books published in English.
This year's finalists was chosen from a list of 162 books submitted for the award. To qualify, the books must have been published in the U.K. or Ireland between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. The winner will receive £50,000 and each shortlisted author receives £2,500. The overall winner will be announced on November 14.
The 2020 shortlist is as follows, with the title author, and U.K. and U.S. publisher listed (when suitable).
- The New Wilderness by Diane Cook (Oneworld Publications) -- (PW's review)
- This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Faber & Faber / Graywolf) -- (PW's review)
- Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House / Overlook)
- The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books / Norton) -- (PW's review)
- Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan / Grove)
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing / Riverhead) -- (PW's review)
Four of the books are debuts and several of the authors have been in contention for the prize before. This year's list is also notably diverse, with four women authors on the shortlist -- Diane Cook, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Avni Doshi and Maaza Mengiste.-- and two men, Douglas Stuart and Brandon Taylor. Four of the shortlisted books come from independent publishers represented by the Independent Alliance: Canongate Books, Daunt Books Publishing, Faber & Faber and Oneworld Publications.
Cook, Mengiste, Stuart and Taylor are living in the U.S., Doshi lives in Dubai, and Dangarembga lives in Zimbabwe, where she has been under arrest following protests against government corruption.
"As judges we read 162 books, many of them conveying important, sometimes uncannily similar and prescient messages," said Margaret Busby, chair of the 2020 judges. "The best novels often prepare our societies for valuable conversations, and not just about the inequities and dilemmas of the world − whether in connection with climate change, forgotten communities, old age, racism, or revolution when necessary − but also about how magnificent the interior life of the mind, imagination and spirit is, in spite of circumstance."