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The 2020 Booker Longlist Predictions Post!


The official longlist for this years Booker Prize is due to be announced on July 28 (midnight UK on the 27th!)  so in the “readersroom” tradition of recent years we have assembled our shadow panel and put together our own predictions for the longlist.

Here’s hoping our 2020 Booker longlist far surpasses 2020 everything else.

Jen’s Predictions:I have to confess that the past year I’ve barely done any reading and have struggled to stay informed about books, but given recent events in the world, I’m predicting that we will see more author diversity on on the list this year. Here are the books I predict will make the list. My choices are listed in no particular order.

  1. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell. David Mitchell is my all-time favorite author so I am biased. In an attempt to be more objective, most of his books have made the literary award lists including the Booker Prize so I hope this one makes it too.
  2. Aperiogon by Colum McCann
  3. Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
  4. Hamnet by Magie O’Farrell
  5. That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu
  6. The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama
  7. The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
  8. The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
  9. Cleanness by Garth Greenwell
  10. The Mirror and the Light by Hillary Mantel
  11. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  12. The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
  13. Summer by Ali Smith. Yes, I know she didn’t submit her books but I am keeping her on the list since she deserves it.

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. Utopia Avenue – David Mitchell
  2. The Water Dancer – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell
  4. My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell
  5. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
  6. How Beautiful We Were –  Imbolo Mbue
  7. How We Disappeared  – Jing-Jing Lee
  8. This Mournable Body – Tsitsi Dangarembga
  9. Red Pill – Hari Kunzru
  10. That Reminds Me – Derek Owusu
  11. How Much of These Hills is Gold – S Pam Zhang
  12. The First Women – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
  13. Then the Fish Swallowed Him – Amir Ahmadi Arian

Nicole’s Predictions: I really tried to get a jump on this years list but I haven’t been overly impressed by my selections (except for Apeirogon which should win, deserves to win, and am deeply invested in winning … sorry, Colum, I probably jinxed you.)  I loved Piranesi, but don’t think it’s Booker material, Weather was maybe too subtle for me, and while I thought The Vanishing Half dealt brilliantly with Colorism, I just didn’t think it was very original otherwise, and at times trite.   At a certain point, I’m just adding books by Irish authors because I love them so.

  1. Apeirogon – Colum McCann
  2. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell
  3. Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stewart
  4. Red Pill – Hari Kunzru
  5. The Wild Laughter – Caoilinn Hughes
  6. Swimming in the Dark – Tomasz Jedrowski
  7. Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan
  8. The Bass Rock – Evie Wyld
  9. Insert Big name that doesn’t really deserve to be on the list (not you, Ali, I’d be thrilled for you to take this spot)
  10. Pew – Catherine Lacey (Added it because the others did and now I really want to read it!)
  11. Rainbow Milk – Paul Mendez
  12. The Shadow King – Maaza Mengiste
  13. The Liars Dictionary – Elay Williams (those last three I just grabbed from others lists without researching.)

Susie’s Predictions: I’m not going to lie. COVID has thrown a spanner in the works for my reading this year. I normally try to read a large chunk of the eligible list leading up to the longlist announcement, but I haven’t come close to reading as many as I would have by now in previous years. Of those that I have read, my predictions are as follows:

  1. Apeiegon by Colum McCann
  2. Weather by Jenny Offill
  3. Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
  4. The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
  5. The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
Books that I’ve not yet read that I am sure will make the list are:
  1. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  2. Summer by Ali Smith

Anita’s Predictions: I have read a whopping 21 books this year.  None of them are potential Booker winners.  So flying blind here, but am making some wild guesses just for the heck of it! The only ones I feel at all confident about are Mantel’s and McCann’s . . .

  1. That Reminds Me by Derek Owusu
  2. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  3. Pew by Catherine Lacey
  4. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  5. A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo
  6. Deacon King Kong by James McBride
  7. The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
  8. Apeirogon by Colum McCann
  9. Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
  10. The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
  11. Weather by Jenny Offill
  12. Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud
  13. Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh

Lisa’s Predictions:   I created my list based on a) buzz;  b) authors I like;  and c) books I want to read.  I’ve read the first five so far. Here is my list in no particular order:

  1. Weather by Jenny Offill
  2. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  4. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
  5. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  6. Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
  7. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
  8. Writers and Lovers by Lily King
  9. The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
  10. Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  11. Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
  12. The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
  13. Actress by Anne Enright

Tracy’s Predictions:

This year has had some really good reads, and it wasn’t easy to choose just thirteen. 

Since Lee Child is a judge, I’m going to assume a mystery/thriller of some sort will be chosen, but I have no idea otherwise. So here goes, not in any special order: 

  1. The Mirror and The Light- Hilary Mantel

  2. Apeirogon- Colum McCann

  3. Utopia Avenue- David Mitchell

  4. Liar’s Dictionary- Eley Williams

  5. That Reminds Me- Derek Owusu

  6. Swimming in the Dark- Tomasz Jedrowski

  7. Shuggie Bain- Douglas Stewart

  8. The Vanishing Half- Brit Bennett

  9. Jack- Marilynne Robinson

  10. The Girl With the Louding Voice- Abi Dare

  11. Rainbow Milk- Paul Mendez.

  12. Hamnet- Maggie OFarrell

  13. Pew-Catherine Lacey


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 28.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tracy S #

    Wow, we’ve got some darn good books chosen! I’d gladly give up many of my prediction spots to Ali Smith, though.


    July 27, 2020
  2. pbtanita #

    Of all of us, who actually read the most of the real list? I have read . . .wait for it . . .none!


    July 29, 2020

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