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Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste Make 2020 Booker Prize Shortlist

Zimbabwean literary giant Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ethiopian-born Maaza Mengiste make the Booker Prize's most diverse shortlist to date.

Tsitsi Dangarembga and Maaza Mengiste have made it into the Booker Prize 2020 shortlist. The announcement was made last night through a live watch party on Booker Prize' Facebook page.

Mengiste shared her surprise at making the shortlist in a funny sparsely worded tweet.


Dangarembga took to twitter to share her gratitude for making it on the list.

Mengiste's The Shadow King revisits the Italian-Ethiopian war under Mussolini's reign and tells the stories of female warriors during the time. The wars unseen, the wars that women have to face in political upheaval and the unfair resilience required of them is the essence of the novel.

This Mournable Body is Dangarembga's third novel that picks up on seminal award-winning novel, Nervous Conditions 30 years later. The theme of women as protagonists fighting a political regime as well as navigating daily battles in modern Zimbabwe is expressed through the third voice in Dangarembga's somber novel.

Not only a writer but an activist, Dangarembga was recently arrested for participating in Zimbabwe's human rights public protest demonstration prompted by the unfair imprisonment of Hopewell Chin'ono. She was later released on bail but is still vociferous on Twitter about Zimbabwe's corrupt government.

The judges stated that this year's shortlist mostly acknowledges the works of "non-white" writers and the selection of diverse authors is based on the literary quality of the narratives.


The complete Booker Prize Shortlist:

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook (Oneworld Publications)

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Faber & Faber)

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books)

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)


Watch the judges' commentary on the shortlist below:

The 2020 Booker Prize shortlist announcement youtu.be

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Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images.

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