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The Booker Prize collaborates with BBC Radio 4 to celebrate the 2019 shortlist

The Booker Prize collaborates with BBC Radio 4 to celebrate the 2019 shortlist

In celebration of the 2019 shortlist, the Booker Prize and BBC Radio 4 are collaborating on a series of book groups to discuss this year’s shortlisted novels. An extension of BBC’s long term partnership with the prize, Radio 4 will be bringing together a small group of readers to meet each of the shortlisted authors to ask questions and discuss their shortlisted books. These six special book groups will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row over three weeks in the run-up to the 2019 Booker Prize winner announcement on 14 October, starting from Thursday 26 September.

Each programme aims to encourage discussion and debate around the themes within the books, with each group offering a unique insight into the novels contending for the prize. The Booker Prize and Radio 4 wish to celebrate each book from the shortlist through these engaging and in-depth discussions.

Margaret Atwood will be joined by avid listeners to discuss The Testaments, her highly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale; Lucy Ellmann meets her group to discuss her epic tale of one Ohio housewife. Girl, Woman, Other is under the spotlight when listeners discuss the novel with author, poet and playwright Bernardine Evaristo; and readers will join Chigozie Obioma to talk over An Orchestra of Minorities, his shortlisted tale of the trials of a young Nigerian man on a quest to improve his prospects. Former Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie and his book Quichotte, a reimagined Don Quixote, will be the focus of one group’s discussions; and Turkish writer Elif Shafak meets her group to examine the themes in her latest title, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, in which true allegiances are formed within the brothels of Istanbul.

To join in with one of these Booker Prize book groups email: [email protected]. The Front Row team are interested to hear which shortlisted author you’d like to meet, and what question you’d like to ask them. The recordings will be in late September and early October and listeners can take part from around the country. Alternatively, if you’d like to read along with the programmes, don’t forget to post about your thoughts on the shortlist using the hashtags #BookerPrize2019 and #bookerprizebookgroup

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Guildhall on 14 October, and will be reported on by BBC News across the BBC News Channel and associated news programmes.

The BBC Radio 4 Front Row programmes are scheduled for*:

  •          Thursday 26 September - Lucy Ellmann
  •          Wednesday 2 October - Bernardine Evaristo
  •          Friday 4 October - Chigozie Obioma
  •          Wednesday 9 October - Salman Rushdie
  •          Friday 11 October - Elif Shafak
  •          Monday 14 October - Margaret Atwood

*please note, the schedule may be subject to change