Sir Salman Rushdie could scoop Booker Prize once again

The British author has been longlisted for his novel Quichotte.
The British author has been longlisted for his novel Quichotte.

Sir Salman Rushdie is up for the Booker Prize almost 40 years after he won it with Midnight’s Children.

The 72-year-old British author is longlisted for Quichotte, described by judges as a “picaresque tour-de-force of contemporary America, with all its alarms and craziness”.

The soon-to-be published novel deals with “father-son relationships, sibling quarrels, racism, the opioid crisis, cyber-spies, and the end of the world”.

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie (Booker Prize/PA)

It is the first time the British author, who famously lived under a fatwa following the publication of The Satanic Verses, has been longlisted for the £50,000 prize since 2008, when The Enchantress Of Florence was in the running.

Sir Salman won the gong in 1981 for Midnight’s Children and later the Best Of The Booker to mark the 40th anniversary of the award.

Another former winner, Canadian author Margaret Atwood, is longlisted for The Testaments, set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in The Handmaid’s Tale, and described by judges as “terrifying and exhilarating”.

Atwood, 79, won the 2000 Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin and has been shortlisted several times.

Margaret Atwood's The Testaments
Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (Booker Prize/PA)

The longlist features one debut novel, My Sister, The Serial Killer, a “funny, tragic and wildly entertaining book” by 31-year-old Oyinkan Braithwaite, about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a habit of killing her boyfriends.

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit author Jeanette Winterson is longlisted for Frankissstein, which explores gender identity and the consequences of artificial intelligence.

Jeanette Winterson's Frankissstein
Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein (Booker Prize/PA)

Other novels include Night Boat To Tangier, a crime story by Irish author Kevin Barry, described as “drenched in sex, death and narcotics”.

Chairman of the 2019 judges Peter Florence said the longlisted novels were “all credible winners”.

“They imagine our world, familiar from news cycle disaster and grievance, with wild humour, deep insight and a keen humanity,” he said.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Booker Prize/PA)

“These writers offer joy and hope. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language. They are exacting, enlightening and entertaining. Really – read all of them.”

Of the 13 longlisted authors, eight are women and five are men, while five come from independent publishers.

Novels must be published in the UK or Ireland between October 1 2018 and September 30 2019 to qualify.

Night Boat To Tangier by Kevin Barry
Night Boat To Tangier by Kevin Barry (Booker Prize/PA)

The Booker Prize, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland. It was previously opened up to US authors.

The longlist contains three novels that have not yet been published, but fall within the eligible dates – Quichotte, The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy, and The Testaments.

The shortlist will be announced in September and the winner on October 14.

The 2019 longlist:

Margaret Atwood – The Testaments

Kevin Barry – Night Boat To Tangier

Oyinkan Braithwaite – My Sister, The Serial Killer

Lucy Ellmann – Ducks, Newburyport

Bernardine Evaristo – Girl, Woman, Other

John Lanchester – The Wall

Deborah Levy – The Man Who Saw Everything

Valeria Luiselli – Lost Children Archive

Chigozie Obioma – An Orchestra Of Minorities

Max Porter – Lanny

Salman Rushdie – Quichotte

Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World

Jeanette Winterson – Frankissstein