Artist Author Edmund de Waal To Chair Booker Prize 2024

Artist Edmund de Waal

The Booker Prize 2024 has officially opened its submissions, accompanied by the appointment of the judging panel. 

Artist and author Edmund de Waal will lead the panel, joined by award-winning novelist Sara Collins, Fiction Editor of the Guardian Justine Jordan, renowned writer and professor Yiyun Li, and accomplished musician Nitin Sawhney.

The judging criteria will focus on long-form fiction by writers of any nationality, published in English and released in the UK and Ireland between October 1, 2023, and September 30, 2024. UK and Irish publishers can submit their works by visiting the official website.

The panel will select the ‘Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books, to be announced in July 2024, followed by the shortlist of six books in September. The ultimate winner of the Booker Prize 2024 will be revealed in November, receiving £50,000 and £2,500 for each of the six shortlisted authors.

Edmund de Waal, Chair of the Booker Prize 2024 judges, expressed his excitement about exploring contemporary fiction without preconceptions and shared his privilege in collaborating with distinguished fellow explorers. Gaby Wood, Chief Executive of the Booker Prize Foundation, highlighted the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the judges, emphasising their ability to recommend works that provoke thought and discussion.

The judges include a mix of literary figures such as Edmund de Waal, an acclaimed artist and writer known for his large-scale installations and bestselling memoir; Sara Collins, Costa First Novel Award winner and former barrister; Justine Jordan, Fiction Editor at the Guardian with two decades of experience; Yiyun Li, an author with numerous accolades, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; and Nitin Sawhney, a versatile musician, composer, and producer.

The Booker Prize, a prestigious literary award established in 1969, has played a crucial role in recognising and promoting outstanding fiction. The award’s impact is substantial, as seen with the recent winner, Paul Lynch’s “Prophet Song,” which experienced a significant boost in sales and international recognition.

About The Judges 

Edmund de Waal (Chair) is an internationally acclaimed artist and writer, best known for his large-scale installations of porcelain vessels and for his bestselling family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes, which won the 2010 Costa Book Award for Biography and the 2011 Ondaatje Prize. It has been translated into over 30 languages and, in 2016, was awarded Book of the Decade by the Independent Booksellers Association. De Waal was awarded the Windham Campbell Prize for nonfiction in 2015, the year he published The White Road. In 2021, when he published Letters to Camondo, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and awarded a CBE for his services to art. His art publications include texts by several Booker Prize authors, including the late A.S. Byatt, Colm Toíbín, Peter Carey and Elif Shafak. Born in Nottingham, de Waal apprenticed with the renowned potter Geoffrey Whiting from 1981 to 1983 and went on to study English Literature at the University of Cambridge in 1986.

De Waal’s interventions have been made for diverse spaces and museums worldwide, including The British Museum and the V&A Museum in London; Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire; the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris; The Frick Collection, New York and Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. He has collaborated with several poets, performers, musicians and other visual artists, including the photographer Sally Mann and the choreographer Wayne McGregor. His library of exile, a pavilion initially exhibited within the Ateneo Veneto during the 2019 Venice Biennale, brought together two thousand books, most in translation, by exiled writers from Ovid’s time to the present day. The project travelled to Dresden, Germany and then to the British Museum. In 2021, the books were donated to the University of Mosul Library in Iraq, which was destroyed in 2015.

Sara Collins is the author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton, which won the Costa First Novel Award in 2019, became a Times bestseller, was translated into more than 15 languages and was broadcast as a four-part television drama on ITV in December 2022. Sara studied law at the London School of Economics before qualifying as a barrister in 1994. She worked as a lawyer for 17 years before obtaining a Master’s degree in creative writing with distinction from Cambridge University in 2016, where she received the Michael Holroyd Prize. Sara is also a literary critic, screenwriter and broadcaster. She has been a frequent contributor and guest host on BBC Radio 4 and co-host of the Graham Norton Book Club Podcast on Audible.

Justine Jordan has been Fiction Editor at the Guardian for two decades. She has commissioned reviews and interviewed writers, including Raymond Briggs, Susanna Clarke, Jon McGregor, Sebastian Barry and China Mieville. She was born in London and grew up in Bristol. She studied English at Cambridge and Anglo-Irish literature at Trinity College Dublin. She won the Vogue writing competition and then joined the Guardian website in its early days as a night editor, going on to set up the book’s website. Her criticism has featured in the Guardian, the Irish Times and the London Review of Books. She is a Writers’ Prize Academy member, and her previous judging experience includes the Guardian First Book Prize, the 4thWrite Short Story Prize and the Costa Novel Award.

Yiyun Li authorises 11 books, including Wednesday’s Child, The Book of Goose and Where Reasons End. Her novels and short stories have been translated into more than 20 languages. Li’s honours and awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Windham Campbell Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and others. Trained as a scientist, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was named a 2023 International Writer by the Royal Society of Literature. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Atlantic and Harper’s, among other publications. She is a professor at Princeton University, where she directs the creative writing programme at the Lewis Center for the Arts.

Nitin Sawhney is a world-class producer, songwriter, touring artist, club DJ, multi-instrumentalist and composer for theatre, dance, videogames and orchestras. He has recorded multiple albums and over 70 film and TV scores, which include adaptations of the 1981 Booker Prize winner Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and The Namesake by Booker-shortlisted novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, as well as Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Human Planet, What’s Love Got To Do With It and a current project for Disney.  The Ivor Novello 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, he has collaborated with other world-class artists of all kinds. He has had his own BBC Radio 2 series and appeared on Desert Island Discs. He holds eight honorary doctorates from UK universities and sits on the boards of multiple charities, including Complicité. For the last four years, he has been the Chair of the PRS Foundation, the UK’s funding body for new music and talent development, as well as a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts and the Grammy Awards. A regular cultural and political commentator, he has written articles for all the major UK broadsheets and is due to release an anthology of his written work next year. His latest album, ‘IDENTITY’, for Warner Music, was released in October 2023. He was made CBE in the 2019 New Year Honours.

Top Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2023

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