American authors Lockwood, Powers and Shipstead among the six finalists for the Booker Prize for fiction


Author Patricia Lockwood, in Savannah, Ga., Jan. 28.


Novels that explore historical injustices, the nature of consciousness and the dizzying impact of the Internet are among the six finalists for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction.

Three books by American authors are on the shortlist announced Tuesday for the price of £ 50,000 ($ 69,000): Patricia Lockwood’s social-media-infused novel ‘No One is Talking About This’, the aviators saga of Maggie Shipstead “Great Circle” and “Bewilderment” by Richard Powers ”, the story of an astrobiologist and his neurodivergent son.

Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2019 for the eco-epic “The Overstory,” which was also a finalist for the Booker Prize 2018.

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Three other candidates explore historical trauma: Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam’s war tale and its aftermath, “A Passage North”; South African writer Damon Galgut’s story of racism and judgment, “The Promise”; and British / Somali writer Nadifa Mohamed’s miscarriage of justice ‘The Fortune Men’, which takes place among 1950s dockworkers in Cardiff.

Historian Maya Jasanoff, who chairs the jury, said the shortlist was immersive, global and “touches on questions of life and death, which is quite poignant and relevant in this catastrophic year.”

Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming the careers of writers and was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Eligibility was extended in 2014 to all English-language novels published in the UK

The jury selected its list from 158 novels. Some of the year’s most prominent novels were not shortlisted, including “Klara and the Sun” by Nobel Laureate for Literature Kazuo Ishiguro, which was on the 13-book list. Ishiguro has been nominated four times by Booker and won the award in 1989 for “Leftovers of the Day”.

Other highly regarded works from the long list that fell by the wayside include “Light Perpetual” by British novelist Francis Spufford and “Second Place” by British / Canadian writer Rachel Cusk.

Only one British writer, Mohamed, made it to the bottom six, a fact that is likely to spark debate in the UK over whether price is becoming US dominated.

“The Booker Prize is the great leveler,” said Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma, one of the judges. “If we don’t have British writers, it’s just a coincidence. We are not making any statements. “

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