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Issue 1751 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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The Booker Prize 2020 Shortlist

The shortlist includes Real Life by Brandon Taylor; Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi; Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart; This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga; The New Wilderness by Diane Cook; and The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste


in Issue 1751

The nominations for the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction were announced on September 15th 2020. This high profile honour is award yearly to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020. Here is the shortlist this year.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

This coming-of-age novel follows Wallance, a black Ph.D. student in a predominantly white community. We dive deep into Wallace’s wounds and desires through Taylor’s exceptional writing. It touches on the important topics of solitude and vulnerability. 

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

“I would be lying if I say my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure.“ This novel explores the relationship between Tara, a wild mother and her daughter Antara. It is a story of love and betrayal, truth and lies, and memories and myths.

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Shuggie Bain is a heavy read that sheds light on the difficult topics of substance addiction and abuse. The titular character Shuggie is the son of Agnes Bain, both trapped in poverty in Glasgow, Scotland. The Bain family lives on the edge of chaos and devastation, and Shuggie’s love for his broen mother makes the tale all the more heartbreaking.

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Written by one of the top authors of Zimbabwe, this Mournable Body follows a complex protagonist Tambu whose potential and education has alienated her from her crowd. It packs a punch with its touches on neo-colonism, capitalism, war, and poverty. 

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

A story set in a world riddled with climate change and overpopultion, The New Wilderness is the debut novel of the author of Man V Nature. Its depiction of the mother-daughter relationship and its dystopian setting makes an interesting premise.

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

Set in 1935 Ethiopia with Mussolini’s invasion, this WWII historical fiction depicts the brutal event and more importantly the women warriors fighting. A unique but depressingly cruel perspective of WWII, The Shadow King provides an eye-opening story of Italy’s attempted colonial rule.

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