manbooker prize 2021

September marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, which means three things: the start of an exciting period of festivities, cricket season in full swing and the sweetest apples and pomegranates start dominating the social media feeds. The weather is sunny, pleasant and it seems an appropriate time to start adding this year’s Booker longlist to your own reading list.

Like every year, the longlist for Booker 2021 comprises 13 books - a baker’s dozen chosen out of 158. The shortlist will be announced on 14 September and the winning book on 3 November. We’ve rounded up six of our favourite Booker titles for you to read now, all available at

1. A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson: This brilliant and emotionally radiant new novel from Mary Lawson, opens on a family in crisis and explores the relationships of three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past in this gripping, darkly domestic tale. It cuts back and forth among these three unforgettable characters to uncover the layers of grief, remorse, and love that connect families, both the ones we're born into and the ones we choose.

2. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead: A gripping and extraordinary historical adventure that weaves together the unforgettable story of a fearless, daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost, and a 21st-century Hollywood star who portrays her on-screen decades later; Great Circle is an expansive tale of passion and ambition. 

3. China Room by Sunjeev Sahota: In China Room, Sahota harvests his own family history; the woman protagonist in the novel is based on his great-grandmother, a part of family lore passed down through generations. As a writer-artist, Sahota paints the brocades his characters make of their lives with tremendous empathy, measuring one person’s sense of rupture against the other, outlining how each of them navigates their private pain.

4. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro: From the bestselling and Booker Prize-winning author of Never Let Me Go and Remains of the Day, Klara and the Sun is the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2017. It’s a stunning novel about Klara, an Artificial Friend (AF), who carefully observes the behaviour of those who come into her store and of those who pass on the street outside. 

5. Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford: From the critically acclaimed and award‑winning author of Golden Hill, Light Perpetual traces the infinite possibilities of five lives in the bustling neighborhoods of 20th-century London. Ingenious and profound, full of warmth and beauty, the novel illuminates the shapes of experience, the extraordinariness of the ordinary, the mysteries of memory and expectation, and the preciousness of life.

6. The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris: This is a story about a bond between two freedmen who are brothers and a Georgia farmer whose meeting will alter their lives, and his. Debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters whose grandeur depicts humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances.

Read these and thousands of other books, penned by bestselling authors, in the British Council’s Digital Library. You can also watch thousands of award-winning films and popular musical concerts at only Rs1800 for one year (comes to INR 150 per month!)

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