The 2021 Booker Prize

And the winner is... Damon Galgut wins the 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction with The Promise

Damon Galgut with The Promise

It’s third time lucky for Damon Galgut as, after being shortlisted in 2003 and 2010, he finally wins the Booker Prize with The Promise.

The announcement was made by Maya Jasanoff, chair of the 2021 judges, in a ceremony that was broadcast live to a global audience of millions by the BBC.

The Promise is set in South Africa during the country’s transition out of apartheid, and explores the interconnected relationships between the members of a diminishing white family through the sequential lens of four funerals. The Promise is Galgut’s ninth novel and first in seven years; his debut was published when he was just seventeen.

It's changed my life and please know that I am really, profoundly, humbly grateful for this

— Damon Galgut, accepting the Booker Prize 2021 for The Promise

We arrived at a decision after a lot of discussion and arrived at a consensus around a book that is a real master of form and pushes the form in new ways, that has an incredible originality and fluidity of voice, and a book that's really dense with historical and metaphorical significance

— Maya Jasanoff, chair of the Booker Prize 2021 judges, announcing The Promise by Damon Galgut as the winner
By
Damon Galgut
Published by
Chatto & Windus
Brutal emotional truths hit home in Damon Galgut’s deft, powerful story of a diminished family and a troubled land.

The Shortlist

Bewilderment
Great Circle
A Passage North
The Promise
Prize winner
The Fortune Men

The Longlist

The 2021 judges

With so many ambitious and intelligent books before us, the judges engaged in rich discussions not only about the qualities of any given title, but often about the purpose of fiction itself. We are pleased to present a shortlist that delivers as wide a range of original stories as it does voices and styles.

Gaby Wood, director of the Booker Prize Foundation

‘This year, over the course of nine largely solitary months, five strangers of disparate backgrounds showed each other what they saw in stories—what dazzled them or challenged them, what touched them or left them unmoved. In the process they showed something of themselves, and came to trust each other as a result.

‘They also proved that the best literature is elastic: both because so many different things can be seen in it, and because—as one of the judges said—the best of fiction can make you feel as though your mind, or heart, are a little bit larger for having read it. 

‘In congratulating the shortlistees, it’s worth remembering how true this remains of the 2021 longlist, all of which will continue to be celebrated at thebookerprizes.com, the new home of the prizes and the half-century-old Booker Library.’

Gaby Wood