The Booker Prizes Announce ‘Original and Thrilling’ 2023 Longlist

The 2023 longlist for the Booker Prize – the world’s most influential prize for a single work of fiction – is announced today, Tuesday, 1 August 2023.

The books explore universal and topical themes: from deeply moving personal dramas to tragi-comic family sagas; from the effects of climate change to the oppression of minorities; from scientific breakthroughs to competitive sport.

The Longlist

What the judges said

The longlist of 13 books – the ‘Booker Dozen’ – has been chosen by the 2023 judging panel, which 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.

Esi Edugyan, Chair of the 2023 judges, says:

‘We read 163 novels across seven months, and in that time whole worlds opened to us. We were transported to early 20th century Maine and Penang, to the vibrant streets of Lagos and the squash courts of London, to the blackest depths of the Atlantic, and into a dystopic Ireland where the terrifying loss of rights comes as a hard warning.

The list is defined by its freshness – by the irreverence of new voices, by the iconoclasm of established ones. 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. The novels are small revolutions, each seeking to energise and awaken the language. Together – whether historical or contemporary – they offer startling portraits of the current.

Gaby Wood, Chief Executive of the Booker Prize Foundation, adds:

The range of experience, expertise and sensibility among this year’s judges led them to seek novels that both advanced the form and allowed the reader to understand something about the world; books that would have impact and longevity; books that moved them – and above all, books of such excellence and subtlety that the judges looked forward to re-reading them.

It’s a pleasure to add to the Booker Library this selection of debut novels, new work from established Booker authors, and books by other writers at the peak of their practice who are new to the prize. We hope every reader finds something to love on this year’s list.

The shortlist and winner announcements

The shortlist of six books will be announced on Thursday, 21 September at an evening event at the newly re-opened National Portrait Gallery in London. It will be livestreamed across all the Booker Prizes’ social platforms. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.

The 2023 winner will be announced on Sunday, 26 November at an award ceremony held at Old Billingsgate. The winner receives £50,000 and 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.

Get involved

Have you read any of the longlisted books? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Instagram, or click on the title above to leave a review.

If you work in a library or workplace and would like to promote the prize, you can download a free physical and digital pack from our shop.

For more information, visit the Booker Prize website.

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Teresa Cremin, Aimée Felone, Michael Lewis, David Shelley, Kit de Waal and Sue Williamson join The Reading Agency’s Board of Trustees

The Reading Agency is delighted to welcome Teresa Cremin, Kit de Waal, Aimée Felone, Michael Lewis, David Shelley and Sue Williamson to its Board of Trustees. With a breadth of experience in the areas of writing, publishing, academia and public libraries, the appointments of the new Trustees will help to guide The Reading Agency as it embarks on its three-year strategy to empower people of all ages across the UK to get reading.

Teresa Cremin is a Professor of Literacy Education at The Open University. She is co-director of the Literacy and Social Justice Centre, a Fellow of the English Association, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the Royal Society of the Arts. Teresa leads a reading for pleasure research and practice coalition, seeking to build readers for life.

Aimée Felone is managing director of Knights Of, a multi award-winning inclusive publisher focused on bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront of commercial children’s publishing. With a team led by women of colour, and an unwavering focus on their intended readership for each book, Knights Of works to engage with gatekeepers across the industry, including booksellers, teachers and librarians, and supports non-traditional community spaces with events, outreach, marketing and partnerships.

Michael Lewis has over 30 years’ experience of working in and managing libraries, supporting local community organisations and encouraging greater community partnerships. He is currently the Head of Libraries at Shropshire Council.

He also advises and supports the development of Waterfront, a sports and education charity, creating activities for deprived communities as a trustee, boxing and martial arts coach. As well as helping cultural charities, supporting culture, arts and education organisations, connect and collaborate to develop cultural and sporting programmes in Leicester.

Michael is also ex-chairperson of the West Midlands Region of Libraries Connected raising the profile of public libraries and helping to develop services nationally.

David Shelley started his career at independent publisher Allison & Busby. He joined Little, Brown as Editorial Director in 2005. Initially commissioning mainly crime and thriller novels and overseeing the audio and ebook lists, he became Publisher of their commercial imprint Sphere in 2007, then overall Little, Brown Publisher in 2011. Authors he published include Mitch Albom, Mark Billingham, Carl Hiaasen, Dennis Lehane, Val McDermid and J.K. Rowling. He became CEO of Orion and Little, Brown in 2015, and in January 2018 became Group CEO of Hachette UK, which is the second-largest consumer publisher in the UK. David is an Officer of the Publishers Association.

Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the ’60s and ’70s.

Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017. In 2022 it was adapted for television by the BBC. Her second novel, The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize and her young adult novel Becoming Dinah was shortlisted for the Carnegie CLIP Award 2020. A collection of short stories, Supporting Cast was published in 2020. An anthology of working-class memoir, Common People was crowdfunded and edited by Kit in 2019.

Kit founded her own TV production company, Portopia Productions and the Big Book Weekend, a free digital literary festival in 2020 and was named the FutureBook Person of the Year 2019. Kit is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor and Writer in Residence at Leicester University.

Her memoir Without Warning and Only Sometimes was published in August 2022.

Sue Williamson MBE worked in public libraries for 18 years in a variety of roles, finishing as Head of Library Services in St Helens before joining the Arts Council in 2018 as National Director for Libraries. Under her leadership, the Arts Council tripled its investment in libraries and supported a wide variety of library projects with national and international significance. Her love of libraries is rooted in her passion for reading for pleasure, a passion she is devoted to sharing now that she is retired, but not retiring.

Matthew Littleford, Chair of the Board of Trustees, The Reading Agency said: “I’m delighted that these brilliant people have agreed to join The Reading Agency. Their combined experience and individual passions will ensure that we go from strength to strength in the coming years and will be invaluable in shaping new partnerships and helping The Reading Agency champion the proven power of reading to people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Follow the latest developments on social media:

@ReadingAgency

For all media enquiries contact Alexander Turton, Marketing and Communications Manager, The Reading Agency, at [email protected]

Blue Peter announce winner of Amazing Authors writing competition

Winning entry turned into an Aardman animation, narrated by Tom Fletcher, to appear in full on today’s Blue Peter and CBeebies Bedtime Story

10-year-old Phoebe from Devon has been announced as the winner of the Blue Peter Amazing Authors writing competition, run in partnership with The Reading Agency and BBC Arts.

Phoebe’s poem “There’s a Big Bad Wolf” took the top spot, winning a once-in-a-lifetime prize, as she sees her work turned into a book and a short animated film, brought to life by award-winning animation studio, Aardman, thanks to funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants. The score for the animation was recorded by BBC Philharmonic.

Narrated by singer and children’s author Tom Fletcher, the animation will be shown on BBC iPlayer and CBBC on this evening’s Blue Peter (Friday 21 July) as well as on CBeebies Bedtime Story.

Phoebe says: “I feel incredibly lucky to have won a competition that so many people entered. I’ve always wanted to be an author and I can’t believe that my story has been chosen to be made into a book and an animation – it’s the best prize ever!
I had an amazing time going behind the scenes at Aardman and had so much fun meeting and chatting with the people who’ve created the animation for my story, and I really enjoyed having a go at drawing on the computer.
It was so exciting meeting Tom Fletcher too, as I’m such a big fan, and hearing him read my story was so surreal! I’ve had such an amazing and magical time!”

Tom Fletcher says: “Almost 8,000 kids entered the Amazing Authors competition, so massive congratulations to everyone who entered and to Phoebe who won!
I loved reading her story ‘There’s a Big Bad Wolf’, it’s so brilliantly creative and the illustrations and animation are incredible, I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy it on Blue Peter and CBeebies Bedtime Story. There are not many 10-year-olds who can say that their story is in print in their local library. She’s an inspiration!”

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts and Classical Music TV, says: “I’m delighted that BBC Arts helped to create this exciting competition; and huge congratulations to our winner Phoebe whose story captured the imagination of all the judges. I can’t wait for audiences on Blue Peter, CBeebies Bedtime Story and BBC iPlayer to see it in its full animated glory; and for audiences on BBC Sounds to hear it, narrated by the successful children’s writer Tom Fletcher.
We’re really grateful to The Reading Agency for their support and to Arts Council England for helping make this a prize that money can’t buy. It’s been fantastic to witness the boundless imagination of the next generation of authors and I feel sure the UK’s literary future is in good hands.”

Young viewers were asked to pen a short story or poem and Phoebe’s writing stood out with her descriptive and imaginative poem about a wolf who lives at the back of her shed. The winning entry impressed the judges with the strong characters Phoebe had created, as well as with the quirky humour in her poem.

As part of the incredible prize, Phoebe went behind the scenes at Aardman to meet with director Åsa Lucander and see how characters are brought to life before receiving a printed version of her story to treasure forever. Phoebe also contributed to the sound effects in the short animated film when she voiced the sighs and gasps of the central character. She also visited the BBC Studios in Salford, the home of BBC Philharmonic to hear the soundtrack being recorded by the full orchestra.

Phoebe, who would like to be a writer when she grows up, will appear live on Blue Peter this evening (Friday 21 July).

Phoebe also becomes the proud owner of a Blue Peter competition winner’s Orange Badge, to add to her collection of blue, green and purple badges.

The Amazing Authors competition is a collaboration between BBC Studios Kids & Family, BBC Arts and The Reading Agency. Working with The Reading Agency, the competition engaged children across the country and feedback showed appreciation from grown-ups that it helped children who need extra support with creative writing.
Blue Peter is a BBC Studios Kids & Family Production for CBBC.

Blue Peter, 5pm, Friday 21 July, CBBC and BBC iPlayer.

CBeebies Bedtime Story, 6.50pm, Friday 21 July, CBeebies and BBC iPlayer.

Three Pillars of Spontaneous Storytelling

There’s an endless stream of story.

I’ve developed three pillars of spontaneous storytelling to help you create and share off-the-cuff stories. As well as having lots of fun, this genre of storytelling enables us to express our creativity, stretch our imagination, improve our memories and develop our speech and language skills.

In almost every story you can expect to find three fundamental elements which are:

  • Person – character, animal, creature
  • Place – the setting or backdrop for the story
  • Plot – to make an interesting story there’s needs to be an obstacle of some kind, for example a challenge, quest, a baddie, a journey.

Since we don’t work out a Plot in advance of telling a spontaneous tale we can use the three pillars to act as a springboard into stories. These pillars are:

  • Our Imagination
  • Our Five Senses
  • Our Memory

Imagination is like a muscle, the more we use it the stronger it becomes. Try playing my variation of EYE SPY, suitable for two or more players.

Find a small cloth / napkin, which you can easily hold in your hand. Thinking about PLACE, the first player holds the cloth and creates a shape, telling the other players what it is, for example: Eye Spy with my little eye a: MOUNTAIN.

The next player takes the cloth and makes another shape.

Eye Spy with my little eye a: MOON CRATER or a desert, river, waterfall

Each person comes up with something new… continue for as long as you’re having fun, but you’ll find that you’ll think of more and more places the longer you play. There’s only one rule! You aren’t allowed to use any idea you’ve come up with whilst it’s someone else’s turn… let the cloth inform you when it’s your hands.

Our Five Senses. For the majority of us sight is our dominant sense so there’s a tendency to tell stories from this perspective. However, if we bring our other senses into stories we make them richer and more engaging.

Memories. When we clearly picture a place or person in our memory this can prompt a story idea, our language also becomes far more descriptive and vivid, enlivening our tales.

In my storytelling workshops, and in my book Seven Secrets of Spontaneous Storytelling, I share techniques, games and exercises to help you to weave stories using these pillars, to create rich, rewarding and often silly spontaneous stories!

Seven Secrets of Spontaneous Storytelling by Danyah Miller is published 1st November by Hawthorn Press.

Book a virtual storytelling workshop here.

The Reading Agency receives funding to tackle social isolation for those losing their sight

The Reading Agency has received a one-year funding grant from the Ulverscroft Foundation to develop and expand work with visually impaired people. The grant will support Reading Friends, the charity’s reading and befriending initiative which encourages reading as a means of starting conversation and connecting people socially around shared stories, interests and passions.

The funding will enable The Reading Agency to work with library authorities to build on their work with visually impaired people through Reading Friends. The Reading Agency will be running co-production workshops, creating resources and training support, and sharing our impact and learning with partners, library authorities and the wider library sector.

Findings in 2022 from people with sight loss taking part in Reading Friends, in public libraries demonstrated real impact supporting wellbeing, creating meaningful connections and helping to reduce loneliness, thereby making a real difference to people’s lives through the power of reading. By taking part in the programme, 83% of people with visual impairment surveyed said they felt less lonely, 90% felt more connected to others and 79% had increased life satisfaction.

One participant said: “I really enjoy the Reading Friends group where I can meet people (now friends) with similar struggles. It was such a shock losing my sight and I have found so much help and support within the group.”

One of the volunteer befrienders said of the Reading Friends programme more widely: “I am often humbled when I realise how much the reading groups impact on people’s lives. They share life experiences, reminisce and connect with each other over a cuppa and a story. It’s very powerful.”

Through this funding, The Reading Agency will collaborate with Share the Vision and its members to share learnings and good practice, bringing the power of reading to more visually impaired people across the UK.

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “We are immensely grateful to the Ulverscroft Foundation for their support of our Reading Friends work. Reading has such a powerful impact on communities, helping to spark conversations and build connections and friendships. This funding will allow us to ensure the needs of people experiencing sight loss are a core focus as we continue to expand and develop the programme.”

Robert Gent, Chair of the Ulverscroft Foundation, said: “We are excited to see The Reading Agency expanding its Reading Friends initiative, and delighted to be able to help. We hope many more blind and visually-impaired people will be inspired to join in, make new friends and enjoy life more – all through the power of books and reading.”

Libraries to loan sports equipment to help families become ‘active’ readers this summer

For too many children, the summer holidays are a time when reading and physical activity levels drop, That’s why… In partnership with The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge, the Youth Sport Trust, is excited to introduce equipment loan scheme pilots in one focused library within five target locations: Islington, Barking and Dagenham, Middlesbrough, Oldham, and Penzance.

Embracing this year’s Challenge theme of sport and play, these pilots utilise existing library infrastructures to provide families with basic equipment and engaging activities inspired by the Summer Reading Challenge superstar team and their mascots. This initiative aims to inspire families to become ‘active’ readers, while also supporting libraries to help visitors reach the Chief Medical Officers’ daily recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity. Join us in driving increased engagement with library services and fostering active communities!

Beyond the pilot locations, all library services and families participating in the Summer Reading Challenge, can access and download activity cards linked to the challenge characters by visiting https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “This fantastic initiative from the Youth Sport Trust really shines a light on libraries as an invaluable community resource. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is all about getting activating imaginations through reading, play and sport and this equipment loan pilot will really support families with activities to do over the holiday.”

Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive, Youth Sports Trust said: “We’re excited to partner with The Reading Agency to deliver this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. For too many children, the summer holidays are a time when reading and physical activity levels drop, which can affect their academic attainment.

“By challenging children to get reading we want to use the power of books to unlock their imaginations and inspire them to be active whilst schools are closed for the summer. Regular physical activity is a vital part of children’s wellbeing, and we’re looking forward to supporting children to be happy and healthy so that they can achieve more.”

@readingagency @youthsporttrust

#SummerReadingChallenge

For all enquiries, please contact:

Alexander Turton [email protected]

The Reading Agency

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