Irish author Claire Keegan is one of six front-runners for the 2022 Booker Prize.
At 116 pages, Keegan’s Small Things Like These is the shortest book in the history of the award.
The shortest winner was Penelope Fitzgerald’s 132-page title “Offshore,” published in 1979, with the award organizers adding that “Treacle Walker” was shorter in terms of words.
Raised on a farm in Ireland, Keegan published his first short story, Antarctica, in 1999, winning the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.
Her other acclaimed works include Foster and Walk the Blue Fields.
The shortlisted authors represent five nationalities and four continents, split evenly between men and women.
Alan Garner has been nominated for Treacle Walker (David Heke/PA)
Also included on this year’s shortlist is British author Alan Garner, who became the oldest author to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Born in Cheshire and raised in Alderley Edge, Garner, who will celebrate his 88th birthday next month on the night of the awards ceremony, was shortlisted for his book Treacle Walker.
The author, known for his children’s fantasy works and retellings of British folktales, has previously said that Trekle Walker took “almost exactly eight years” from the initial idea to the final book, a fable that tells the story of a boy who goes on strike. said it took. “An unlikely friendship with a mysterious wandering healer”.
After his book was shortlisted for a prestigious literary award, he said: However, as with all skills, apprenticeship must be delivered through practice and experience. ”
Zimbabwean author Noviolet Bulawayo, born Elizabeth Zandir Telle, was shortlisted for the second time after being shortlisted for her book We Need New Names, which debuted in 2013.
Earlier this year, her political satire Glory was recognized, and when asked on Booker’s official website about writing a novel set in the animal kingdom and based on recent events in Zimbabwe, the author said: I’m talking A public drama that was often unfolding and morphing at the time I was writing it (initially as a work of non-fiction), it deservedly garnered a lot of attention and was a sort of I felt like I was in a strange competition.
She added: “I must say that the astonishing absurdity of Zimbabwean politics also made this choice appropriate. influenced some of the choices of
The final list, selected by a panel of judges chaired by cultural historian, author and broadcast writer Neil McGregor, also combines “strong condemnation of racism and police violence with a nerve-wracking murder mystery.” There is Percival Everett, the American author of The Trees, who is described as .
In 2020, Everett was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his novel The Telephone.
Sri Lankan author Shehan Karnatilaka made the list with his second novel, The Seven Months of Maali Almeida. .
He told the book Booker website:
“A ghost story where the dead could offer their perspective seemed a strange enough idea to pursue, but I wasn’t brave enough to write about the present, so I went back 20 years to the Dark Ages of 1989. I did.”
Ex-lawyer-turned-author Elizabeth Strout is on the list for her novel Oh William! In this novel, she returns to heroine Lucy Barton to tell a story about her “love, loss, and family secrets that embarrass us all the time.”
American Strout wrote Olive Kitteridge in 2008, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009, and was adapted into an award-winning TV series starring Frances McDormand, and has been loved by audiences around the world. increase.
Judge Chairman McGregor said of the 2022 finalists:
“Set in different places at different times, they are all about events that occur to some degree everywhere and that concern us all. Or how many different worlds, real and imagined, exist in that seemingly simple space, the Anglosphere.
“2 – Oh, William! and Treacle Walker is about the inner lives of young boys and middle-aged women as they, in their own way, reach new understandings of who they are and what they become. .
“Four other books tackle long national histories of cruelty and injustice, in Sri Lanka and Ireland, Zimbabwe and the United States, and in each case enduring historical tensions emerge in societies as well. It offers a dilemma in which a character finds himself in a predicament. Luck.”
He added: In each work, the author uses words to not only communicate what is happening, but to create worlds that we, outsiders, can enter and live in. It’s not just about using local language and dialect words.
“NoViolet Bulawayo’s spell-like repetition draws us all into the Zimbabwean community of memories and expectations in the same way that Alan Garner’s shamanic prejudices evoke realms inaccessible to reason alone.
Percival Everett and Shehan Karnatilaka create a fantastical blend of gothic horror and humor that could not be more removed from the hypnotic, hallucinogenic clarity of Clare Keegan and Elizabeth Strout’s pared-down prose. Weave a web of words.
“Most importantly, everyone sees the importance and power of finding and sharing the truth.”
The winner will be announced at Roundhouse on 17th October, in person for the first time since 2019, and will receive £50,000.
The 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction goes to Damon Galgut for The Promise.