14th October, 2019
Nigeria’s Chigozie Obioma is among six writers contending for this year’s Booker Prize, the winner of which will be announced today.
Chigozie Obioma’s entry is his novel An Orchestra of Minorities, an African take on The Odyssey, following a Nigerian chicken farmer who travels to Europe.
Former winners Margaret Atwood and Sir Salman Rushdie, Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo and Elif Shafak are the other contenders for the coveted prize.
Selected from more than 150 entries, the winner will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall Monday evening. As well as having the honour of their book being named the best of the year, the triumphant novelist will also receive a £50,000 award.
Atwood’s novel The Testaments is considered the favourite by the BBC. Set 15 years after her previous hit, The Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian drama is narrated by three female characters. The 79-year-old author previously won the 2000 Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin.
Sir Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, the story of a travelling salesman who drives across America, “pushes the boundaries of fiction and satire”, says jury chair Peter Florence. The author won the Booker Prize in 1981 and made the shortlist in 1983, 1988 and 1995.
Bernardine Evaristo is also in the running with her fusion fiction story Girl, Woman, Other, telling the interconnected stories of a group of black British women.
Elif Shafak is nominated for her novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, in which she tells the story of a recollections of a sex worker who has been left for dead in a rubbish bin.
Lucy Ellmann’s novel Ducks, Newburyport, is the most unusual contender. The 998-page tome is a stream-of-consciousness monologue that mostly consists of one continuous sentence.
The Guardian’s Alex Preston says “it’s a difficult year to call a winner” but says his money “is on Evaristo”. However, the Daily Mail says that Atwood is the likely winner, with Ellman the other one to watch.
*Reported by The Week