This year’s Booker Prize Longlist includes three debuts, the shortest book as well as the youngest and oldest authors ever to be nominated


The Colony by Audrey Magee

He handed the easel to the boatman, reaching down the pier wall towards the sea.

Mr Lloyd has decided to travel to the island by boat without engine – the authentic experience. Unbeknownst to him, Mr Masson will also soon be arriving for the summer.

Both will strive to encapsulate the truth of this place – one in his paintings, the other by capturing its speech, the language he hopes to preserve. But the people who live on this rock – three miles long and half-a-mile wide – have their own views on what is being recorded, what is being taken and what is given in return. Soft summer days pass, and the islanders are forced to question what they value and what they desire.

As the autumn beckons, and the visitors head home, there will be a reckoning.



After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz

A joyous reimagining of the lives of a brilliant group of feminists, sapphists, artists and writers from the past, as they battle for control over their lives, for liberation and for justice.

Told in a series of cascading vignettes, featuring a multitude of voices, ‘After Sappho’ is Selby Wynn Schwartz’s joyous reimagining of the lives of a brilliant group of feminists, sapphists, artists and writers in the late 19th and early 20th century as they battle for control over their lives; for liberation and for justice.



Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

A long time ago, in a bountiful land not so far away, the animal denizens lived quite happily. Then the colonisers arrived.

After nearly a hundred years, a bloody War of Liberation brought new hope for the animals — along with a new leader. A charismatic horse who commanded the sun and ruled and ruled and kept on ruling. For forty years he ruled, with the help of his elite band of Chosen Ones, a scandalously violent pack of Defenders and, as he aged, his beloved and ambitious young donkey wife, Marvellous.

But even the sticks and stones know there is no night ever so long it does not end with dawn. And so it did for the Old Horse, one day as he sat down to his Earl Grey tea and favourite radio programme. A new regime, a new leader.

Or apparently so. And once again, the animals were full of hope.

Glory tells the story of a country seemingly trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it.

History can be stopped in a moment. With the return of a long-lost daughter, a #freefairncredibleelection, a turning tide — even a single bullet.



Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.


The long-awaited new work from the author of Foster, Small Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.



Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

When there is no choice, all you have left to do is walk. Kiara Johnson does not know what it is to live as a normal seventeen-year-old. With her mother in a rehab facility and an older brother who devotes his time and money to a recording studio, she fends for herself – and for nine-year-old Trevor, whose own mother is prone to disappearing for days at a time.

As the landlord of their apartment block threatens to raise their rent, Kiara finds herself walking the streets after dark, determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her. Then one night Kiara is picked up by two police officers, and the gruesome deal she is offered in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm. If she agrees to testify in a grand jury trial, she could help expose the sickening corruption of a police department.

But honesty comes at a price – one that could leave her family vulnerable to their retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves.


Nightcrawling is an unforgettable novel about young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world, told with a humanity that is at once agonising and utterly mesmerising.



Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia’s body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist.

It’s travelling down the banks of her canals. It’s spreading. When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia’s world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse.

Deeply buried secrets stir awake. As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you’re simply not ready to let go?


Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story of coming-of-age at the end of a life. Utterly heart-breaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer’s astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman’s body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.



Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

‘I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger.’

London, 1965.

An unworldly young woman suspects charismatic psychotherapist Collins Braithwaite of involvement in a death in her family. Determined to find out more, she becomes a client of his under a false identity. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything.


In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents both sides: the woman’s notes and the life of Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling, page-turning and wickedly humorous meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.



Treacle Walker by Alan Garner

An introspective young boy, Joseph Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. Living alone in an old house, he reads comics, collects birds’ eggs and plays with his marbles. When, one day, a rag-and-bone man called Treacle Walker appears, exchanging an empty jar of a cure-all medicine and a donkey stone for a pair of Joseph’s pyjamas and a lamb’s shoulder blade, a mysterious friendship develops between them.


A fusion of myth, magic and the stories we make for ourselves, Treacle Walker is an extraordinary novel from one of our greatest living writers.



The Trees by Percival Everett

When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body – that of a man who resembles Emmett Till, a young black boy lynched in the same town 65 years before.

The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried.

In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance.



Trust by Hernan Diaz

A sweeping, breathtakingly ambitious novel about power, wealth and truth, told by four unique, interlocking voices and set against the backdrop of turbulent 1920s New York.


The legendary Wall Street tycoon whose immense wealth gives him the power to do almost anything. The second-generation Italian immigrant tasked with recording his life story.

The reclusive, aristocratic wife. And the writer who observes them from afar. In a city devoted to making money and making stories like no other, where wealth means power, who gets to tell the truth? And to rise to the top of a glittering, destructive world, what – and who – do you have to sacrifice?



The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

A searing satire set amid the murderous mayhem of Sri Lanka beset by civil war.


Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira lake and he has no idea who killed him.

At a time where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.



Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life.


Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband – and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence.

‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’



Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Junius is the patriarch, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who fled bigamy charges in England, both a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability. As his children grow up in a remote farmstead in 1830s rural Baltimore, the country draws ever closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.

Of the six Booth siblings who survive to adulthood, each has their own dreams they must fight to realise – but it is Johnny who makes the terrible decision that will change the course of history – the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


Booth is a riveting novel focused on the very things that bind, and break, a family.



Will you be reading any of the Longlist this year?
Let us know your thoughts: