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Booker Prize: Ishiguro, Powers Among Contenders For Fiction

Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming writers' careers, and was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers

Booker Prize: Ishiguro, Powers Among Contenders For Fiction
Britain's Kazuo Ishiguro, is on the longlist announced Tuesday for the 50,000-pound (USD 69,000) prize with the novel “Klara and the Sun | Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency FILE via AP
Booker Prize: Ishiguro, Powers Among Contenders For Fiction
outlookindia.com
2021-07-27T11:02:35+05:30

Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers are among 13 authors in the running for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction.

Britain's Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, is on the longlist announced Tuesday for the 50,000-pound (USD 69,000) prize with “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 eco-epic “The Overstory,” which was also a Booker Prize finalist.

Other previous Booker contenders on this year's list include South Africa's Damon Galgut for his story of racism and reckoning, “The Promise”; British writer Sunjeev Sahota for “China Room,” which travels between England and India; and Canada's Mary Lawson for her tale of life in a northern town, “A Town Called Solace.”

Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming writers' careers, and was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Eligibility was expanded in 2014 to all novels in English published in the U.K.

Two American first novels are among this year's contenders: Patricia Lockwood's social media-saturated story “No One is Talking About This” and Nathan Harris' best-seller “The Sweetness of Water,” set in the U.S. South at the end of the Civil War.

The list also includes “Great Circle” by American writer Maggie Shipstead, British novelist Francis Spufford's “Light Perpetual,” British/Somali author Nadifa Mohamed's “The Fortune Men,” British/Canadian writer Rachel Cusk's “Second Place,” South African novelist Karen Jennings's “An Island” and “A Passage North” by Sri Lankan writer Anuk Arudpragasam.

Historian Maya Jasanoff, who is chairing this year's judging panel, said many of the novels “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,” she said.

“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.”

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

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