The 2020 Booker Prize judges announced

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The panel will be chaired by Margaret Busby, editor, literary critic and former publisher; and consists of: author Lee Child; author and critic Sameer Rahim; writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay; and classicist and translator Emily Wilson.

Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, says:

‘Judging the Booker Prize is a collective act of investigation and understanding: seeking the best in new fiction and being receptive to its many possibilities. This year’s five judges are, in engagingly different ways, expert readers of the world. Their powers of perception have broken barriers in their respective fields, and I’m looking forward to knowing what their minds will find when they join forces.’

Margaret Busby adds:

‘For more than half a century the Booker Prize has saluted brilliant and thought-provoking writing. I am honoured and delighted by this challenging opportunity to contribute to the judging process alongside such a great panel.’

Margaret Busby during one of the AWT programmes.

The judging panel will be looking for the best work of long-form fiction, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020.

Lemn Sissay during the Uganda International Writers conference in 2017

The 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction was won jointly by The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. In the week following the announcement, sales of The Testaments rose from 11,955 to 13,400 copies while Girl, Woman, Other sold 5,980 copies, more than double its lifetime sales up to that point and a 1,340% increase week on week. The morning after she won the prize, Evaristo’s American publisher announced that the book would come out in the US a month earlier than previously scheduled and that it was publishing 50,000 copies, up from an initial run of 10,000. TV rights have now been sold, as well as translation rights for the novel in 21 territories.

The ‘Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in July 2020 and the shortlist of six books in September. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on 27 October 2020 at London’s Guildhall.

The Booker Prize is sponsored by Crankstart, a charitable foundation.

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