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Nigerian Author Ayobami Adebayo Longlisted for 2023 Booker Prize

The Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo’s second novel, ‘A Spell of Good Things,’ has been longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize.

The Booker Prize is a distinguished award given to an individual work of fiction written in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

On Tuesday, the prize organisers announced its longlist of finalists for the year 2023.

‘A Spell of Good Things’ was among the top 13 novels longlisted — out of 160 works selected across four continents.

In a blog post, Esi Edugyan, the chairman of the award judges, said the books were selected based on their freshness.

She added that the “13 novels cast new light on what it means to exist in our time”.

“The list is defined by its freshness – by the irreverence of new voices, by the iconoclasm of established ones,” Edugyan said.

“All 13 novels cast new light on what it means to exist in our time, and they do so in original and thrilling ways.

“Their range is vast, both in subject and form: they shocked us, made us laugh, filled us with anguish, but above all they stayed with us. This is a list to excite, challenge, delight, a list to bring wonder.

Edugyan also described Adebayo’s book as one which “echoes fears about corrupt governments and a pull to the political right across the world”.

“A bit of politics. Perhaps echoing fears about corrupt governments and a pull to the political right across the world, a number of the books on the longlist deal with politics, both individual and societal,” she added.

Adebayo’s ‘A Spell of Good Things,’ published in February 2023, depicts the story of two families in Nigeria, demonstrating what occurs when there is income inequality, an imbalance of power, and governmental corruption.

Some of the books also longlisted are ‘The House of Doors’ by Tan Twan Eng, ‘The Bee Sting’ by Paul Murray, ‘Western Lane’ by Chetna Maroo, ‘In Ascension’ by Martin Macinnes, ‘Prophet Song’ by Paul Lynch, ‘All the Little Bird – Hearts’ by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow, and ‘Pearl’ by Slan Hughes.

Others include ‘This Other Eden’ by Paul Harding, ‘How to Build a Boat’ by Elaine Feeney, ‘If I Survive You’ by Jonathan Escoffery, ‘Study for Obedience’ by Sarah Bernstein, and ‘Old God’s Time’ by Sebastian Barry.

Adebayo is the fifth Nigerian novelist to be nominated for the prize. After Ben Okri, the Nigerian-born British poet and novelist, she could become the second Nigerian-born winner.

She possesses B.A. and M.A. degrees in English Literature from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia (UK), where she received an international creative writing bursary.

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