Salman Rushdie nominated for Booker Prize almost 40 years after he won for Midnight’s Children

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

The 72-year-old British author is set to make a star appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
The 72-year-old British author is set to make a star appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The 72-year-old British author, who is set to make a star appearance at next month’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, is long-listed for Quichotte.

The soon-to-be-published novel has been described by judges as a “picaresque tour-de-force of contemporary America, with all its alarms and craziness”.

Quichotte deals with “father-son relationships, sibling quarrels, racism, the opioid crisis, cyber-spies and the end of the world”.

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.

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The long-list 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 long-listed for Frankissstein, which explores gender identity and the consequences of artificial intelligence. Other novels include Night Boat To Tangier, a crime story by Irish author Kevin Barry, described as “drenched in sex, death and narcotics”.

Alongside Sir Salman, fellow nominees Elif Shafak and Deborah Levy will also appear at book festival events.

Chairman of the 2019 judges Peter Florence said the long-listed 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. “These writers offer joy and hope. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language. They are exacting, enlightening and entertaining.”

Of the 13 long-listed authors, eight are women and five are men, while five come from independent publishers. The Booker Prize, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland.