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Judges announced for the 2021 International Booker Prize

Judges announced for the 2021 International Booker Prize

Swiftly following the much celebrated announcement of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and Michele Hutchison as the winners of The 2020 International Booker Prize with The Discomfort of Evening, the judges for The 2021 International Booker Prize are revealed today, 7 September 2020.  

Chaired by cultural historian and novelist, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, the panel consists of: journalist and writer, Aida Edemariam; Man Booker shortlisted novelist, Neel Mukherjee; Professor of the History of Slavery, Olivette Otele; and poet, translator and biographer, George Szirtes.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Chair of the 2021 International Booker Prize judges, comments:

‘Fiction is a way of escaping our own personal, national and ideological lockdowns, and of entering the minds of writers and fellow readers, regardless of where they come from.  It is a great pleasure to be part of this generous, outward-looking prize, and to be working with such a distinguished group of judges. I look forward to discovering great writing, to being taken to places I've never seen and to inhabiting mind-sets which will be new to me. I also look forward to rewarding the work of the authors and translators who help readers to live, imaginatively, the lives of our fellow humans everywhere.’

Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the International Booker Prize, adds:

‘As historians, biographers, poets and translators, the five judges bring a wealth of experience to the task at hand. Their reading will range widely and their discussions will be probing. The choices they make will bring new authors and translators to the attention of readers around the world.’

The process and awarding of the 2020 prize was delayed this year to allow publishers the opportunity to get the shortlisted books into the hands of readers once bookshops had reopened in the middle of June. As a result, unusually, the 2021 judges have been in post since May 2020 and have already started work reading submissions for next year’s prize, which opened in July.  

The International Booker Prize, with its focus on the importance of translation and the £50,000 prize split equally between author and translator, continues to build in global importance year-on-year.  The 2021 judging panel will be looking for the best work of translated fiction, selected from entries published in the UK or Ireland between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2021.

The ‘Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books on the 2021 International Prize longlist will be announced in March 2020 and the shortlist of six books in April. The winners will be announced in May.