Watch our video Q&As with the Booker Prize 2023 shortlistees
Ahead of the Booker Prize 2023 winner ceremony, we gathered your questions from social media and put them to our shortlisted authors
At a special event at Clarence House for friends of the Booker Prizes, the Queen thanked authors for providing escapism, and wished this year’s shortlistees luck for Sunday’s winner ceremony
On Thursday, November 23, Her Majesty The Queen hosted a special event for Booker Prize authors past and present. With only a few days to go until we find out who will win this year’s prize, over a dozen authors and friends of the Booker Prize Foundation gathered at the Queen’s Clarence House residence in London to celebrate the 2023 shortlist.
Queen Camilla has a long association with the Booker Prize, having been present at a number of winner ceremonies in the past, and is a vocal advocate for the importance of reading – as well as being a passionate reader herself. At last year’s ceremony, she presented the Booker Prize trophy to the 2022 winner, Shehan Karunatilaka.
Guests at Clarence House included five of this year’s shortlisted authors – Jonathan Escoffery, Paul Harding, Paul Lynch, Chetna Maroo and Paul Murray. Also in attendance were the Chair of the 2023 judges, Esi Edugyan, previous Booker winners Ben Okri, Penelope Lively and Alan Hollinghurst, former Booker nominees Sarah Waters and Elif Shafak, and publisher Margaret Busby.
I’ve always said reading is an escapism, whatever is happening in your life, and if you feel it’s difficult to cope with you can pick up a book and just go off into another world— The Queen, thanking Booker Prize authors, past and present
The Booker Prize Foundation’s Chief Executive Gaby Wood invited the Queen to take custody of the Booker Prize trophy until Sunday’s ceremony, where Shehan Karunatilaka will present it to this year’s winner.
Speaking to the assembled guests, the Queen said: ‘I just wanted to say thank you to all the writers who enhance our life, we couldn’t do without you all. I’ve always said reading is an escapism, whatever is happening in your life, and if you feel it’s difficult to cope with you can pick up a book and just go off into another world. So if it wasn’t for all of you, and all the people – the publishers and the agents – who help put your books on the map, it would be a very sad world.’
The Queen joked that she wished the Booker Prize trophy was being given to her, and that she was very jealous of the person who would be picking it up on Sunday, before wishing the shortlisted authors the best of luck.
The event was one of several taking place during Booker Prize Week. Later in the day, the Booker Prize 2023 shortlisted authors appeared on stage at the Southbank Centre in London, where they read extracts from their nominated books and were interviewed by Sara Collins.
On Friday November 24 they will appear at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend in Wales, in conversation with Gaby Wood.
Following the winner ceremony at Old Billingsgate in London on Sunday, the winner will then appear at an event at HOME in Manchester, hosted by Manchester-based writer Okechukwu Nzelu. The winner will take part in a Q&A which will be followed by the screening of a film that has been paired with the winning book by MUBI – the global streaming service, production company and film distributor.
The following evening, the winner will return to London for an evening event at Foyles Charing Cross Road, hosted by Anita Rani, in which they will be in conversation with last year’s winner, Shehan Karunatilaka.
For more information about these events, see our events page.