The Booker Prize is the world’s most significant award for the best sustained work of fiction written in English by authors from anywhere in the world and published in the UK and/or Ireland.
None of the six authors has previously been shortlisted for the prize. There are two debuts on the shortlist; there is one British, one Canadian, two Irish and two American authors. Although full of hope, humour and humanity, the books address many of 2023’s most pressing concerns: climate change, immigration, financial hardship, the persecution of minorities, political extremism and the erosion of personal freedoms. They feature characters in search of peace and belonging or lamenting lost loves. There are books that are grounded in modern reality, that shed light on shameful episodes in history and which imagine a terrifying future.
The Booker Prize 2023 shortlist is:
Sarah Bernstein (Canadian), Study for Obedience (Granta Books)
Jonathan Escoffery (American), If I Survive You (4th Estate)
Paul Harding (American), This Other Eden (Hutchinson Heinemann)
Paul Lynch (Irish), Prophet Song (Oneworld)
Chetna Maroo (British), Western Lane (Picador)
Paul Murray (Irish), The Bee Sting (Hamish Hamilton)
The Booker Prize 2023 shortlisted authors
The 2023 Booker Prize judges
The 2023 judging panel is chaired by twice-shortlisted novelist Esi Edugyan. She is joined by actor, writer and director Adjoa Andoh; poet, lecturer, editor and critic Mary Jean Chan; author and professor James Shapiro; and actor and writer Robert Webb.
The judges chose the final six novels from thirteen longlisted titles – the ‘Booker dozen’ – which were selected from 163 books published between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, and submitted to the prize by publishers. All the shortlisted authors receive £2,500 and a bespoke bound edition of their book. They gain global readerships and a dramatic increase in sales.
The 2023 winner, announced on November 26 at an award ceremony held at Old Billingsgate, receives £50,000 and can expect their career to be transformed overnight. The winner will also receive a trophy designed by the late Jan Pieńkowski. In a recent public vote, the trophy was named ‘Iris’ in honour of the 1978 Booker winner Iris Murdoch.
The Booker Prize award ceremony
The Booker Prize 2023 award ceremony will take place on the evening of Sunday, November 26, 2023 at Old Billingsgate in the City of London and will be broadcast in a special half-hour edition of BBC Radio 4’s Front Row at 9.30pm. YouTuber Jack Edwards, known as the ‘internet’s resident librarian’ will host the official livestream of the ceremony across the Booker Prizes’ social channels and on his own YouTube account.
The 2022 Booker Prize was won by Shehan Karunatilaka with The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. On winning, according to its publisher Sort of Books, sales soared to over 100,000 across all formats. It has now been translated into 19 languages with another 10 in process. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida has massively outsold – by 2,000% – Karunatilaka’s previously acclaimed and prizewinning novel, Chinaman (Jonathan Cape, 2012).