Ayobámi Adébáyo makes longlist for 2023 Booker Prize

Saturday August 12 2023
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A Spell of Good Things book cover. PHOTO | SYDNEY KITHOME | NMG


Nigerian author Ayobámi Adébáyo’s A Spell of Good Things is among 13 books longlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize.

The judges described the book as an examination of class and desire in modern-day Nigeria. In the book, while Eniola’s poverty prevents him from getting the education he desperately wants, Wuraola finds that wealth is no barrier against life’s harsher realities.

Adébáyo is the fifth Nigerian novelist to be nominated for the Booker Prize and would be the second Nigerian-born winner, after Ben Okri.

The longlist features books from four continents, four Irish writers, four debut novelists – and ten authors who are recognised by the Booker Prize for the first time.

Read: Booker Prize goes to Gospodinov

The other books are: Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry; Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein; If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery; How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney; This Other Eden by Paul Harding; Pearl by Siân Hughes; All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow; Prophet Song by Paul Lynch; In Ascension by Martin MacInnes; Western Lane by Chetna Maroo; The Bee Sting by Paul Murray; and The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng.


Novelist Esi Edugyan, twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is the chair of the 2023 judging panel and is joined by actor, writer and director Adjoa Andoh; poet, lecturer, editor and critic Mary Jean Chan; professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Shakespeare specialist James Shapiro; and Robert Webb, an actor and writer.

The judges are looking for the best work of long-form fiction, selected from entries published in the UK and Ireland between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023.

Read: SA author wins 2021 Booker Prize

The longlist of 13 books – the ‘Booker Dozen’ – was announced on August 1 with the shortlist of six books to follow on September 21. The winner of the £50,000 ($63,680) prizes will be announced on November 26.