Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, which is published next week, and Rushdie’s Don Quixote-inspired Quichotte are both included in the six-strong list ahead of next month’s winner announcement.
Atwood previously won the prestigious prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin and was also shortlisted for Cat’s Eye (1989), Alias Grace (1996) and Oryx and Crake (2003).
Rushdie won in 1981 for Midnight’s Children, as well as being given the “Booker of Bookers” in 1993 and 2008 on the 25th and 40th anniversaries for the award. He was also shortlisted for Shame (1983), The Satanic Verses (1988) and The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995) and longlisted for Shalimar the Clown (2005) and The Enchantress of Florence (2008).
Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma has made it two out of two – his debut novel, The Fisherman, was shortlisted in 2015 and his second An Orchestra of Minorities makes this year’s shortlist.
British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo’s eighth novel Girl, Woman, Other tells an interlocking story of 12 mostly female, mostly black, British lives across generations while British-Turkish writer Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World recounts the harrowing life of an Istanbul sex worker as she succumbs to a violent death.
UK-based Lucy Ellmann whose Ducks, Newburyport, the near single-sentence, thousand-page monologue of an Ohio homemaker, is the only US-born writer up for consideration.
The award will be announced in London on October 14. The winner will receive a £50,000 prize and can expect instant international recognition. After winning last year, Anna Burns’ Milkman has sold more than half a million copies and has been translated into nearly 40 different languages.
The 2019 longlist
Margaret Atwood – The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Lucy Ellmann – Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo – Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
Chigozie Obioma – An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
Salman Rushdie – Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)