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Booker Prize longlist includes Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Valeria Luiselli

Maragret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is among the authors long-listed for the 2019 Booker Prize.
(Bernard Weil / Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Booker Prize Foundation revealed the longlist for its literary award Tuesday, with Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Valeria Luiselli and Jeanette Winterson among the nominees.

Thirteen books are in contention this year for the Booker Prize — previously known as the Man Booker Prize — which is awarded annually to a novel written in English and published in Britain or Ireland.

Novels making this year’s longlist include “The Testaments,” Canadian author Atwood’s sequel to her iconic book “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Atwood has made the Booker shortlist five times before, winning the prize in 2000 for “The Blind Assassin.” “The Testaments” is slated for publication in the U.S. on Sept. 10.

British Indian author Rushdie was nominated for “Quichotte,” an homage to Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” that’s due for an American release on Sept. 3.

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Rushdie is also no stranger to the Booker Prize, having won in 1981 for his classic novel “Midnight’s Children,” which was also awarded the special 1993 “Booker of Bookers” prize, given to the best Booker Prize-winning novel in the award’s first 25 years.

Mexican writer Luiselli, who lives in New York, made the longlist for “Lost Children Archive,” a novel that deals with the hot-button issue of immigration to the United States.

Reviewing the novel for The Times, Tyler Malone wrote, “Luiselli’s novel is the kind of book we need right now: one not afraid to dig into the politics of the present, but always with an eye toward posterity. … ‘Lost Children Archive’ hits the right pitch and finds the right surface, whispering back to us our own questions and concerns, reverberating with the headlines of the present and the great art of the past.”

Acclaimed British author Winterson was nominated for her “Frankissstein,” about a transgender physician who falls in love with an artificial intelligence expert. The novel is set for publication in the U.S. on Oct. 1.

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The majority of this year’s nominees are British, which is likely to assuage critics of the 2014 policy change that opened the award to writers of any nationality. Previously, the prize was given only to authors from the British Commonwealth, Ireland, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Since the change, the award has been given to two American authors, Paul Beatty for “The Sellout” in 2016 and George Saunders for “Lincoln in the Bardo” in 2017.

Only one American writer made the longlist this year: Lucy Ellmann, who was born in Illinois but now lives in Scotland. Ellmann was nominated for “Ducks, Newburyport,” which will be published in America in September. The postmodern novel about a housewife in Ohio is written as one sentence, and is 1,040 pages long.

Peter Florence, the chair of this year’s judging panel, urged book lovers to read all of the titles on the longlist.

“There are no favorites; they are all credible winners,” he said. “These writers offer joy and hope. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language. They are exacting, enlightening and entertaining. Really — read all of them.”

The longlist will be winnowed into a shortlist, which will be announced Sept. 3. The winner of the award, which comes with a $62,000 cash prize, will be revealed at a ceremony Oct. 14.

The complete list of this year’s Booker nominees is below.

Margaret Atwood, “The Testaments”
Kevin Barry, “Night Boat to Tangier”

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Oyinkan Braithwaite, “My Sister, the Serial Killer”
Lucy Ellmann, “Ducks, Newburyport”
Bernardine Evaristo, “Girl, Woman, Other”
John Lanchester, “The Wall”
Deborah Levy, “The Man Who Saw Everything”
Valeria Luiselli, “Lost Children Archive”
Chigozie Obioma, “An Orchestra of Minorities”
Max Porter, “Lanny”
Salman Rushdie, “Quichotte”
Elif Shafak, “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
Jeanette Winterson, “Frankissstein”


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