Udayavni Special

Indian-origin Sunjeev Sahota among 13 contenders for fiction’s Booker Prize


PTI, Jul 27, 2021, 11:36 AM IST

London: Indian-origin British author Sunjeev Sahota is among the 13 authors longlisted for the prestigious 2021 Booker Prize for fiction for his novel ‘China Room,’ alongside Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers.

The 2021 longlist or “The Booker Dozen” of 13 novels was unveiled on Tuesday after judges evaluated 158 novels published in the UK or Ireland between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.

Sahota, 40, who was the 2015 Booker Prize nominee for The Year of the Runaways, is on the longlist for the 50,000-pound (USD 69,000) prize for his novel “China Room,” inspired in part by the author’s own family history.

Britain’s Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, is among this year’s Booker dozen for Klara and the Sun, a novel about love and humanity narrated by a solar-powered android. It is the fourth Booker nomination for Ishiguro, who won the prize in 1989 for The Remains of the Day.

American author Powers is nominated for Bewilderment, about an astrobiologist and his neurodivergent son. Powers won the Pulitzer for fiction in 2019 for the eco-epic The Overstory, which was also a Booker Prize finalist.

Other Booker contenders on this year’s list include A Passage North, Anuk Arudpragasam; Second Place, Rachel Cusk, The Promise, Damon Galgut; The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris, An Island, Karen Jennings; A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson; No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood; The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed; Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead and Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford.

The 13 books on this year’s longlist were chosen by the 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.

Historian Jasanoff, who is chairing this year’s judging panel, said, “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” Jasanoff said in a statement.

A six-book shortlist will be announced on September 14, and the winner will be crowned on November 3 during a ceremony in London.

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