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Booker Prize 2019 Our Longlist Predictions



The official longlist for this years Booker Prize (the name change is due to new sponsors Sir Michael Moritz and his wife rather than the Man group) is due to be announced on Wednesday so in the “readersroom” tradition of recent years we have assembled our shadow panel and put together our own predictions for the longlist.

Let the madness begin…

Jen’s Predictions: I have been sorely lacking in the reading department this year as life has been a little crazy for me. So my predictions are based on reader buzz and a few favorite authors rather than my own reading. Here are my predictions in no particular order.

  1. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
  2. The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
  3. The Unauthorized Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James
  4. Girl Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
  5. The Nickel Boys by Colton Whitehead
  6. Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt
  7. Lanny by Max Porter
  8. Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
  9. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
  10. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  11. Machines like Me by Ian McEwan
  12. Little by Edward Carey
  13. Frankisstin by Jeanette Winterston

Book Worm’s Predictions: Not even an educated guess here I am going for qualifying books I have read or would like to read in the hope that I predict all of them:

  1. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
  2. The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
  3. Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan
  4. Gingerbread – Helen Oyeyemi
  5. Hazards of Time Travel – Joyce Carol Oates
  6. Frankisstein (A Love Story) – Jeanette Winterson
  7. The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo
  8. Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
  9. The Wisdom of Bones – Kitty Aldridge
  10. Spring – Ali Smith
  11. Broken Ghost – Niall Griffiths
  12. Black Leopard, Red Wolf – Marlon James
  13. Unsheltered – Barbara Kingsolver

Tracy’s Predictions: In no particular order and in no expectation of getting them right:

  1. Lanny- Max Porter
  2. Lost Children Archive- Valeria Luiselli
  3. Orchestra of Minorities- Chigozie Obioma
  4. Melmoth- Sarah Perry
  5. Little- Edward Carey
  6. Flames- Robbie Arnott
  7. Memories of the Future- Siri Hustvedt
  8. Girl, Woman, Other- Bernardine Evaristo
  9. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous- Ocean Vuong
  10. A People’s History of Heaven- Mathangi Subramanian
  11. The Other Americans- Laila Lalami
  12. The Tenth Muse- Catherine Chung
  13. When All is Said- Anne Griffin

Susie’s Predictions: Susie is new to our panel so here is a quick introduction to her:

Hello everyone.  I’m a forty-something bibliophile from Melbourne, Australia.  I live with my two sons, 9 and 11, and my husband, and I work as a Student Wellbeing Coordinator at a local primary school.  I have loved reading ever since I can remember.  My favourite genre is literary fiction, so you can imagine how excited I am that it is Booker season!  I have followed the progress of the prize for many years, but last year was the first time that I read the entire longlist, and I plan to do the same again this year.  I’m really happy about being asked to participate in this panel.  It will be great motivation to get the list finished, especially if a few doorstops end up on the list (I’m looking at you, Ducks, Newburyport!), and I can’t wait to compare notes with the rest of the panel.

  1. I’ve managed to read quite a few eligible novels, and I’m predicting, or hoping, that Freshwater will make the list.  I was blown away by Emezi’s story and it has really stayed with me despite having read it over a year ago
  2. I am currently reading Winterson’s Frankissstein: A Love Story, and have all of my fingers and toes crossed that it will make the list.  It is unique, funny, and affecting.
  3. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is nothing short of stunning and I hope the judges feel the same way.  A poet turning to prose is a beautiful thing.
  4. I was moved by Lanny by Max Porter and would love to see it considered.
  5. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  6. Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
  7. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  8. The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
  9. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  10. I’m scared of seeing Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James included as I don’t think it is for me, and it is massive!

Anita’s Predictions: Honestly, I think the chances of me selecting the long list nominees would be better if I just threw all the potential titles into a bowl and picked them out at random.  But based on only the most minimal personal experience, I am putting forward the following titles. Looking at my own list with a critical eye, I think I may have too many American novels on here . . .alas, I hear more about those unfortunately!

  1. Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – This sounds to me like Underground Railroad without the fantastical elements.  Which personally for me would be an improvement.
  2. Lanny by Max Porter – Seems to be the most popular choice by readers in the know
  3. Lost Children Archive by Valerie Luiselli – I actually read this one.  Original and topical though I didn’t love it.
  4. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – Can you really bet against a sequel to the Handmaid’s Tale?
  5. Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman – 950 pages with an interesting structure.  Sounds like it could be on the list.
  6. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – The one book I really hope doesn’t make it, but I think will be there.  I don’t care to read it . . .
  7. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi – After Lanny, this seems to be the second favorite to make the longlist
  8. Where Reasons End by Yiyun Lee – Another book I read and didn’t love, but it checks the original box so I think it could make the list.
  9. On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  10. The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy – LOVED Hot Milk, so cheering for this book to make the longlist.
  11. Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
  12. Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad
  13. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Lisa’s Predictions: Here is my list in no particular order:

  1. Freshwater – Akwaeke Emezi
  2. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
  3. Lost Children Archive – Valeria Luiselli
  4. Melmoth – Sarah Perry
  5. Little – Edward Carey
  6. Gingerbread – Helen Oyeyemi
  7. The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
  8. The Old Drift – Namwali Serpell
  9. Once up a River – Diane Setterfield
  10. Machines Like Me – Ian McEwan

Nicole’s Predictions: I’ve had a strategy in years prior, but the list mostly seems to be a crapshoot, so I’m going with a crapshoot strategy this year.  🙂  Maybe I’ll get 3.  (I put * next to the ones I want to read no matter what, already read Gorgeous … and it is.)

  1. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous –  Ocean Vuong *
  2. Lanny – Max Porter*
  3. Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton
  4. The Man Who Saw Everything – Deborah Levy *
  5. 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in the Strange World – Elif Shaffak *
  6. We the Survivors – Tash Aw
  7. Memories of the Future – Siri Hustvedt *
  8. Ducks, Newburyport – Lucy Ellmann
  9. Slack – Tide – Elanor Dymott
  10. Cala – Laura Legge
  11. Lost Children Archive – Valeria Luiselli *
  12. Nobber – Oisin Fagan
  13. Insurrecto! – Gina Apostol

(can you spot my completely random picks?  haha.  Tempted to substitute one of them with The Friend, but I think I’ll stick with this list.)

And there you have it. Our panel’s picks. Who do you think will predict the most correctly? Stay tuned for the Longlist announcement on July 24.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. pbtanita #

    So interesting! Our consensus choices seem to be:

    On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
    Lost Children Archive
    The Man Who Saw Everything
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf
    The Testaments
    Machines Like Me
    Nickel Boys

    Can’t wait to see what gets chosen. I like the fact that Nicole went a little rogue! I have to actually look up some of those titles . . .


    July 22, 2019
  2. Nicole R #

    The Booker-nominated books are not really my jam, but I love seeing the predictions and following the buzz! I am currently reading Gorgeous, and I am liking it more than I thought I would. Depending on what makes the longlist cut on Wednesday, I may even get to a few others: Frankissstein is on my list as is Queenie and Nickel Boys. I could be convinced by The Lost Children Archive and the Levy book as I always intended to get to Hot Milk and never did.

    I don’t care how many rave reviews it gets, I will not be reading the Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

    Nice predictions, everyone, and depending on what makes the list y’all could have some intense and daunting reading!


    July 22, 2019
    • You are most assuredly not missing anything from BLRW … Unless you enjoy saying “What am I missing?” for 900 pages.


      July 22, 2019
      • Nicole R #

        It sounds so pretentious. It will probably be at least shortlisted basedon that alone.


        July 22, 2019
  3. Scott #

    I’m leaning toward Nicole’s list, but I would remove Ellmann and insert Obioma.


    July 22, 2019
  4. I share the general antipathy to Black Leopard etc. I tried a few pages, but it definitely was not for me. The 950 page doorstopper? I wonder! I’m pleased to see the Namwali Serpell on Lisa’s list – its in my TBR pile. Andrea Levy? also not for me. Looking forward to the coming weeks and the panel’s reviews.


    July 22, 2019

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