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Two Nigerians make 2019 Booker Prize longlist

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Oyinkan Braithwaite (left) Photo: Studio 24. Chigozie Obioma (right) Photo: Rex/Shutterstock

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer and Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities have been named on the 2019 Booker prize longlist.

The longlist also features Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Braithwaite and Obioma’s books were chosen alongside 11 other books from 151 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019. 31-year-old Braithwaite is the youngest writer on the list with her debut novel, My Sister, The Serial Killer already considered by producers for a movie.

Braithwaite’s thriller is set in Lagos around two sisters. One is a nurse while the other murders her boyfriends claiming “self-defence”. The darkly comic story takes a twist when Ayoola starts dating a doctor where Korede works. Korede loves the doctor and doesn’t want him to end up dead.

The list of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges: founder and director of Hay Festival Peter Florence; former fiction publisher and editor Liz Calder; novelist, essayist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo; writer, broadcaster and former barrister Afua Hirsch; and concert pianist, conductor and composer Joanna MacGregor.

“If you only read one book this year, make a leap. Read all 13 of these. There are Nobel candidates and debutants on this list. There are no favourites; they are all credible winners. They imagine our world, familiar from news cycle disaster and grievance, with wild humour, deep insight and a keen humanity. These writers offer joy and hope. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language. They are exacting, enlightening and entertaining. Really – read all of them,” Chair of the 2019 judges, Peter Florence said.

Obioma’s book is an odyssey of Chinonso narrated by his Chi or spirit. He falls in love with Ndali but her wealthy family objects to their union because of his lack of education. He sells his belongings to attend a university in Cyprus but arrives in the country to find out he had been scammed.

The 2019 longlist of 13 novels includes Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier, Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer, Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, John Lanchester’s The Wall, Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything, Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive, Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities, Max Porter’s Lanny, Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, and Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein.

After a six-book shortlist announced on September 3, the winner of the 2019 Booker prize will be announced on Monday 14 October at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall. The winner will receive £50,000.


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