Bloomsbury and Granta have three titles shortlisted each for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and Political Fiction.
Granta dominates the Political Writing shortlist, with Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick, Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care by Madeleine Bunting and Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa up for the prize.
Also in the running are African Europeans: An Untold History by Olivette Otele (Hurst Publishers), English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks (Allen Lane), The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor (Bodley Head) and Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women by Christina Lamb (William Collins)
"Narrowing down a longlist composed of such inspiring and challenging works to a final shortlist was never going to be easy," said Anand Menon, chair of judges for the Political Writing prize. "Perhaps the highest praise I can give these authors, and their wonderful books, is that the panel had few doubts as to our decision, and are proud to recommend these books as the finest political writing published in the last year. Heartfelt congratulations to all these fantastic writers."
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah, Apeirogon by Colum McCann and Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Ali have made the Political Fiction shortlist for Bloomsbury, alongside The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue). Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) and The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber) complete the list. Smith was previously shortlisted for Winter in 2018.
"Whittling down our longlist of 12 books to come up with a shortlist of six proved both challenging and, ultimately, rewarding," said Delia Jarrett-Macauley, chair of the judges for the Political Fiction Prize. "Sadly, we had to lose some books we admired. However, with this shortlist we are excited to present a richly international array of novels, creatively inventive and intellectually astute fictional explorations, all of which grapple with big political issues—war, migration, poverty, refugees—and personal challenges, such as the death of a child or the loss of a sibling. We are delighted to share this list of political fiction and hope readers will get immense pleasure from all of them."
The winners of both prizes, which are each worth £3,000, will be unveiled on George Orwell’s birthday, 25th June, alongside the winners of the prizes for journalism and the exposing Britain’s social evils.
This year the prize received 280 eligible entries from 91 separate imprints for political writing. The political fiction prize received 100 eligible entries from 46 separate imprints. Previous winners of the prizes include Kate Clanchy, Colson Whitehead and Anna Burns.
The shortlists in full:
The Orwell Prize for Political Writing
African Europeans: An Untold History by Olivette Otele (Hurst Publishers)
Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa (Granta)
Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick (Granta)
English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks (Allen Lane)
The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor (Bodley Head)
Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care by Madeleine Bunting (Granta)
Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women by Christina Lamb (William Collins)
The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Bloomsbury)
Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Bloomsbury)
Summer by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue Books)
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