Books

Canadian author Esi Edugyan shortlisted for 2018 Man Booker Prize for novel Washington Black

The £50,000 UK award (approx. $86,990 Cdn) is given annually to the best work of fiction written in English.
Washington Black is on the Man Booker shortlist and Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. (Tamara Poppitt, HarperCollins Canada)

Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan has made the shortlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her novel Washington Black

The £50,000 prize (approx. $86,990 Cdn) is awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language. 

Washington Black is the story of an 11-year-old boy known as "Wash," who is enslaved on a Barbados sugar plantation. His master is Englishman Christopher Wilde, who is obsessed with developing a machine that can fly. When a man is killed, Wilde must choose between his family and saving Black's life — and the choice results in an epic adventure around the world for Wash. 

Washington Black is also currently on the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist

Edugyan was previously shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2011 for her novel Half-Blood Blues

The other finalists for the 2018 Man Booker Prize are:

  • Milkman by Anna Burns (U.K.) 
  • Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (U.K.)
  • The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (U.S.)
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers (U.S.)
  • The Long Take by Robin Robertson (U.K.)

The winner will be revealed on Oct. 16, 2018.

This year's jury includes philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, crime writer Val McDermid, cultural critic Leo Robson, feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose and Canadian artist and writer Leanne Shapton.

Michael Ondaatje was the other Canadian on the longlist, for his novel WarlightOndaatje previously won the Man Booker Prize in 1992, when his novel The English Patient tied with Barry Unsworth's Sacred Hunger for the prize.

Earlier this year, The English Patient was crowned the Golden Man Booker winner. The special one-off competition was designed to mark the 50th anniversary for the British literary prize. It placed the Man Booker Prize's previous 51 winners in a head-to-head battle to determine which has stood the test of time. 

The 2018 longlist marked the first time a graphic novel was recognized by the Man Booker Prize. Sabrina by American cartoonist Nick Drnaso, which explores what happens when the disappearance of a woman hits the daily news cycle, was released by the Canadian comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly.

Last year's Man Booker Prize winner was George Saunders for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

Only two Canadians other than Ondaatje have won the prize since its inception in 1969: Yann Martel won in 2002 for Life of Pi and Margaret Atwood was recognized in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.

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