Brutal emotional truths hit home in Damon Galgut’s deft, powerful story of a diminished family and a troubled land.

The narrator’s eye shifts and blinks, deliciously lethal in its observation of the crash and burn of a white South African family. On their farm outside Pretoria, the Swarts are gathering for Ma’s funeral. The younger generation detests everything the family stands for, not least the failed promise to the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. After years of service, Salome was promised her own house, her own land, yet somehow, as each decade passes, that promise remains unfulfilled.

The 2021 Booker Prize
Published by
Chatto & Windus
Publication date
Damon Galgut

Damon Galgut

About the Author

Damon Galgut is a South African playwright and novelist, who wrote his first novel aged 17. He's been shortlisted three times for the Booker Prize and won in 2021 for his ninth book, The Promise.
More about Damon Galgut

Let me say this has been a great year for African writing, and I'd like to accept this on behalf of all the stories told and untold, the writers heard and unheard, from the remarkable continent I'm part of. Please keep listening to us, there's a lot more to come

— Damon Galgut, accepting the Booker Prize, November 3 2021

Listen to an extract from The Promise

Award-winning audiobook narrator Peter Noble brings Damon Galgut’s The Promise to life.

The cover of the audiobook for Damon Galgut's The Promise on an orange background.

The original idea came from a conversation with a friend, who’s the last surviving member of his family

Damon Galgut and Peter Cameron discuss The Promise

In this event for Europa Editions, Damon Galgut speaks with Peter Cameron, author of What Happens at Night

‘When I finished my previous book, Arctic Summer, it didn’t feel to me as if I had another book in me,’ says Galgut in response to how he came to write The Promise. ‘It took a while to kind of dig into myself and find what it was I wanted to say next. ‘

See him read from The Promise, and discuss the genesis for the book and his characters, in the video below.

Damon Galgut speaking while looking to the left.

With The Promise, Galgut’s latest novel, he joins, indisputably, the ranks of other great South African writers

Other nominated books by Damon Galgut

In a Strange Room
The Good Doctor