We are thrilled to share that Lucy Ellmann’s incredible novel, Ducks, Newburyport, published this year by Galley Beggar Press, has reached the Booker Prize Shortlist alongside five other titles.
The shortlist was announced this morning (3 September) by the 2019 Chair of Judges Peter Florence, at a press conference at London’s British Library. He said, “Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity”.
The shortlist was selected from 151 submitted books. The Prize is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019.
The 2019 shortlist includes Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (Chatto & Windus), Bernardine Evaristo’s, Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton), Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown), Salman Rushdie’s, Quichotte (Jonathan Cape) and Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking).
Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, if it goes on to win, would be the longest winning novel in the prize’s history at 998 pages. The current longest winning novel is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, in 2013, at 832 pages.
Chair of the 2019 judges, Peter Florence, comments:
“The common thread is our admiration for the extraordinary ambition of each of these books. 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. We have a shortlist of six extraordinary books and we could make a case for each of them as winner, but I want to toast all of them as “winners”. 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.”
Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, adds:
“It was hard to watch the judges narrow down their longlist to this shortlist: they were so committed to all 13 of the books they’d chosen just over a month ago that the discussion was intense. Still, these six remain extraordinary: they bring news of different worlds; they carry a wealth of lives and voices; they’re in conversation, in various ways, with other works of literature. I think it’s fair to say that the judges weren’t looking for anything in particular – they entered this process with an open mind – but this is what they found: a set of novels that is political, orchestral, fearless, felt. And now, by association, those six will be in fruitful conversation with one another.”
The shortlist was chosen by a panel of five judges: founder and director of Hay Festival Peter Florence (Chair); 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.
The 2019 winner will be announced on Monday 14 October at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, one of the highlights of the cultural year.
The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect instant international recognition.