"It's interesting to realise there are so many female authors out there; there are so many interesting non-white authors out there, giving us different glimpses of the world," said Emily Wilson, graduate chair of comparative literature and theory at University of Pennsylvania, at the Booker Prize shortlist announcement ceremony on Monday.
Her statement reflects the scale of diversity in both the longlist and shortlist this year, and most of the books are now available at Bangladesh Culture & Books in Dhaka airport. "By this month, we will have a full stock of the six shortlisted books," they told The Daily Star.
The store has copies of Avni Doshi's Burnt Sugar, published in the subcontinent as Girl in White Cotton, arriving soon. Longlist contenders -- Apeirogon by Colum McCaan, Kiley Reid's Such A Fun Age, and Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and The Light -- are due to arrive soon.
Charcha and online bookstore Bookshop.com both have copies of Girl in White Cotton available upon pre-order, and both Charcha and Bookworm Bangladesh are taking orders for all Booker nominees.
Bookworm has brought in all three of Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy. All the books are original editions. Barring pandemic-driven delays, pre-orders are taking up to a month to arrive in Bangladesh.
THE SHORTLIST NOMINEES
Four of the shortlisted six are debut novels, with stories ranging from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and India to the US and Scotland. Author and judging panellist Lee Child said, "I think all 13 [longlisted titles] are about people under extreme pressure…which was interesting to us. Is that an artefact of this year?" That connection weaves the shortlist together as well.
Diane Cook's debut, New Wilderness, tells the story of a family in the wake of intense upheaval wrought by climate crisis. Acclaimed Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga's third novel, This Mournable Body, is about a young girl's struggle for survival in a nation coming apart at the seams.
Avni Doshi's debut, Burnt Sugar, portrays a tense yet intimate mother-daughter relationship at the onset of mental decline. Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King brings forward an Ethiopian story of the Second World War, which was also recently acquired for a movie adaptation.
Debut author Brandon Taylor's Real Life highlights the struggles of race and sexuality in America, among other things, in context of a university-centred life. Douglas Stuart's debut novel, Shuggie Bain, is a glimpse into working-class Scotland and the human desires for glamour and luxury during the 1980s.
Considered the UK's most prestigious literary award for English novels, the 2020 Booker winner will be announced on November 17 with a prize of £50,000. Shortlist nominees will receive £2,500 each.
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