Margret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel long listed for the Booker Prize 3 weeks ago

Margret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel long listed for the Booker Prize

The Handmaid's prize?

As if The Testaments wasn't already eagerly awaited, it's now been long listed for what is arguably the most prestigious literary prize in the world. Margaret Atwood's sequel to The Handmaid's Tale is not due to be published until September, and the plot of the long-awaited novel is a closely guarded secret. In fact, the only thing we know for sure about the book is that it's set 15 years on from where The Handmaid's Tale left off.

However, the manuscript was made available to the judging panel of the Booker Prize, who included it in their longlist for then £50,000 prize, which was announced this morning.

This is the sixth Booker Prize nomination for Canadian author Atwood, who won the Booker in 2000 for The Blind Assassin. She was one of eight women and five men longlisted for this year's prize.

Also making the longlist was Irish author Kevin Barry, who was nominated for Night Boat To Tangier. The book, which was published in June, is a dark comedy about two Cork drug dealers whose gangster days are fading.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Barry – who was born in Limerick and lives in Sligo – said that it was "great news" and he hoped the nomination would give the book a push over the summer. He added that he'd enjoyed a small celebration last night, and joked that it wasn't on the same level as Shane Lowry as he was only "at semi-finals stage".

Another book of note on the list is Lucy Ellman's Ducks, Newburyport which is written in a single sentence which runs to over 1,000 pages. The story is the inner monologue of an Ohio housewife, written without paragraphs or full stops.

The Booker Prize is open to fiction writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK and Ireland. The shortlist will be announced on September 3rd, and the winner will be revealed on October 14.

The full longlist for the 2019 Prize is as follows:

  • Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
  • Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
  • Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
  • Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
  • Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
  • John Lanchester (UK), The Wall (Faber & Faber)
  • Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
  • Max Porter (UK), Lanny (Faber & Faber)
  • Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
  • Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
  • Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)