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The excitement builds as thirteen shrinks to six! The long list for the Booker prize has been reduced to the six finalists, including Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, which comes out a week from today (!!) and Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte (both authors have won the award previously, Atwood for The Blind Assassin in 2000 and Rushdie for Midnight’s Children in 1981).
The other finalists are Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, and Elif Shafak. Information about these books can be found at the NYT.
The winner will be announced Oct. 14 at a ceremony in London and will receive a prize of £50,000 (NYT estimates $61,000 USD today).
Margaret Atwood won the Booker Prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin and is in the running again for the prize for her upcoming novel The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, which will be released on September 10. Atwood has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, first for The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986, when she lost out to Kingsley Amis, and most recently in 2003 for Oryx and Crake.
The Guardian reports that 13 finalists were chosen among 131 novels for the longlist. Previous winner Salman Rushdie is also on the longlist (Rushdie won in 1981 for Midnight’s Children). Among the other eleven are the American-born Lucy Ellmann (who moved to England as a teenager), English writer Jeanette Winterson, Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, and Irish author Kevin Barry.
According to the New York Times, “a ferocious nondisclosure agreement” prevented the prize’s judges from revealing any of the plot of The Testaments, but they did say it is “terrifying and exhilarating.”
A note about The Booker Prize:
The Booker is the most prestigious British literary award and comes with a handsome prize of £50,000. The prize was originally known as the Booker–McConnell Prize, when the Booker–McConnell company began sponsoring the prize in 1969. Later it became known as simply the Booker Prize. It is awarded to a full-length novel written in English by an author from the Commonwealth of Nations or Ireland. As of June 1, 2019, the Booker Prize is now sponsored by the Crankstart Foundation, of California, curiously, not the Man Group as it was for the past 18 years (when it was referred to as the Man Booker Prize), and is known again as simply the Booker Prize.
Margaret Atwood will receive yet another prestigious prize, this one symbolizing her place not just as one of the most treasured and visionary writers of our time, but as an activist and environmentalist as well. This honor, the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship, was established by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship in 2016 and is to be awarded each year to a leader who “has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the societal ideals of belonging, tolerance, and respect.”
In a press statement, former governor-general and prize namesake Adrienne Clarkson said, “We want to honour this remarkable citizen of Canada for all she has done in her personal and professional life to make us aware that we are citizens of a country like Canada and a planet that is our precious Earth. In her brilliant writing career and her personal activism locally, nationally, and internationally, she is a dynamic force in the world today.”
Atwood will be presented with the prize on September 26 at the closing event of 6 Degrees Toronto, “a three-day conversation on citizenship and inclusion.” Ticket and organization information can be found here. Read more about the prize here.
Margaret Atwood will receive a Hay Festival Medal for Prose for “a lifetime of ingenious and visionary fiction” during the Hay Festival event in Hay-on-Wye, Wales scheduled May 24 – June 3, 2018.
Margaret Atwood will receive the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute for “her commitments to the growth of the Canadian media industry.” The awards will be held March 11, 2018 in Toronto. For more information and other Canadians expected to receive awards that day, see the announcement or this article in Global News.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is a national, non-profit, professional association dedicated to the promotion, recognition, and celebration of exceptional achievements in Canadian film, television, and digital media. Unifying industry professionals across Canada, the Academy is a vital force representing all screen-based industries.
The 2017 PEN Center USA Literary Awards Festival hosted by the hilarious Nick Offerman recently took place in Los Angeles.
At the event, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Margaret Atwood, saying, “When Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic a hundred years ago, she said ‘No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.’ And those words ring just as true today and they’re the heart of everything this next honoree writes, says, and does.”
When Atwood accepted the award, the left the audience with these questions: “What is the world we live in? What is the world we want to live in?”
Read the full story at Variety.
Margaret Atwood was presented with the Franz Kafka International Prize of 2017. On October 17 at the Old Town Hall in Prague, Atwood received the award, although she was chosen by the international jury in May. See this press release for more information and for a list of past recipients.
Atwood’s interview with Ian Willoughby for Radio Prague can be found here.
At the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair, Margaret Atwood was presented with the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for her body of work. “Recognized for her bleak worldview that captures contemporary issues with poignancy,” the accompanying link explains, she “spoke at the Paulskirche about the importance of writing in a historically significant age.” The event was also written about here.