DEEP DIVE
Grazia|August 2021
Avid readers, writers, and literary agents weigh in on this year’s edition of the Booker Prize longlist

One of the most cerebral aspects of literature is its potential to turn into a cause for celebration while also pulling us into the core of one of the most interconnected times in human history. But literary prizes can often get murky and it is practically impossible to impress the reader. There is always room for more diversity, batting for the underdog, and going into unmarked territory.

If the past few years are anything to go by, the Booker Prize juries have increasingly shown a proclivity towards the unconventional and the experimental – often favouring debut novelists with a fresh voice over jaded stories with a dated approach. Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina was the first graphic novel to be longlisted recently, in 2018, while Mike McCormack’s single-sentence novel, Solar Bones made it to the 2017 longlist. And most of us are probably still finishing the brick that was Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport, shortlisted in 2019 to a mixed response.

The 2021 longlist, though, promises to buck many trends. From Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer awardees, to debut novelists eviscerating social media – it’s a staggering range. As Author Rajat Ubhaykar, of Truck De India fame, puts it: “I’m impressed by the geographical sweep of the stories on the longlist, from Punjab to South Africa to Sri Lanka to the US, as well as the thematic diversity on offer: Artificial intelligence, historical fiction, the disorienting landscape of social media, there’s something for every reader. And that’s the exciting bit.”

According to Nilanjana S. Roy, novelist and Financial Times columnist, the longlist is clearly “reader-friendly” with its choices. “It offers something for almost every kind of reader, from Maggie Shipstead’s soaring historical fiction (Great Circle) featuring a woman aviator to Booker veteran Kazuo Ishiguro’s melancholy and moving exploration of what it would mean to be an AI at the service of humanity, in Klara and the Sun. Some critics will miss books like Natasha Brown’s Assembly or Leone Ross’ Popisho, but it’s a rare year that yields a longlist as strong, questioning, and as much fun as this one,” she says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GRAZIAView All

The Promise Of Emotional Transformation

The pandemic reminds us how easily human ache can fall prey to the promise of emotional transformation, which will take more than a spa date to achieve

5 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM

It’s been three years since Section 377 was repealed. To celebrate the milestone, we asked members of the LGBTQIA+ community for their insights on India’s path to queer liberation

4 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

REBEL CODE

Seasoned stylist and creative consultant, Ekta Rajani is an ‘explorer’ (as she hesitantly calls herself ) for relatively conscious consumption in the fashion scene today. However, by her admission, the process of understanding the importance of and making cleaner choices was, and continues to be, a complex one. She pens her sartorial journey thus far while spotlighting some value in thrift, slower-made, and upcycled styles, through this visual essay

4 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

LAY OF THE LAND

A vibrant mosaic of peoples, cultures and communities, crisscrossed by ancient trading and pilgrimage routes offer their own unique inspiration, in Ladakh

4 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

IN YOUR BACKYARD

Good food is about more than simply good cooking

4 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

ADA DESIGNER CHIKAN STUDIO

The beautifully intricate embroidery of chikankari is one of the most recognizable crafts from India and has continued to evolve over the last 200 years since its inception.

2 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

THE PRIDE OF A NATION

The Olympic silver medallist hopes that her inspiring story will fuel the sport ing ambitions of a new generation of athletes

6 mins read
Grazia
September 2021

SOUNDTRACK TO THE SUMMER

This music collective spills the details on their third album

3 mins read
Grazia
August 2021

LEADING CHANGE

Female athletes are set ting new benchmarks for sports in the country

3 mins read
Grazia
August 2021

LOW POWER MODE

Drained social batteries have led to very little tolerance for social interaction. How can we recuperate?

6 mins read
Grazia
August 2021