Nigerian Writer, Chigozie Obioma Shortlisted for Booker Prize

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33-year-old Nigerian writer, Chigozie Obioma has joined other literary heavyweights including Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwool on the shortlist of the 2019 Booker Prize.

Booker Prize judges have whittled down the books still in consideration for the prestigious literary award from 151 submissions to six finalists. On the shortlist released Tuesday are two former winners and another who came awfully close: Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, who won in 2000 and 1981, respectively, as well as 2015 finalist Chigozie Obioma.

Today’s Echo gathers that Obioma is  is an assistant professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been called, in a New York Times book review, “the heir to Chinua Achebe.” In 2015, Obioma was named one of “100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine.

This trio of marquee names is joined by Elif Shafak, one of Turkey’s best-known living writers; Illinois-born Lucy Ellmann, who now lives in Scotland; and London-based Bernardine Evaristo.

Booker Prize Shortlist

  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  • Ducks, Newburyport Lucy Ellmann
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
  • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

“There is an abundance of humour, of political and cultural engagement, of stylistic daring and astonishing beauty of language. Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity,” Peter Florence, chairman of the 2019 judging panel, said in a written statement released Tuesday.

“Anyone who reads all six of these books would be enriched and delighted, would be awe-struck by the power of story, and encouraged by what literature can do to set our imaginations free,” he added.

One title on the shortlist may jump out immediately to readers: Atwood’s The Testaments, the highly anticipated follow-up to her perennial bestseller and syllabus staple, The Handmaid’s Tale. That novel earned a spot on the Booker 1986 shortlist after its release, and its recent television streaming adaptation has become a prize favorite in its own right.

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