The judging panel for 2021 Booker Prize will be chaired by historian Maya Jasanoff and, according to the prize’s website, it includes: ‘writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former Archbishop Rowan Williams’.
Commenting on the development, Gaby Wood, Literary Director- Booker Prize Foundation, said in a statement, “When Douglas Stuart won the 2020 Booker Prize, he told Bernardine Evaristo, from whom he took the baton, that she had ‘lifted all voices’ and that he hoped to do her proud in the year to come. Booker Prize judges never speculate about the spirit in which the winner will accept the prize — their remit is to choose the best book, nothing else. But the warmth with which recent winners have been received by readers is a heartening consequence: the more people believe The Booker Prize is for them, the better it will be for good writing and good reading overall. If part of the Booker’s long-term effect is to encourage a range of excellence in new writing, it does so by showing that a welcoming group of readers exists for that work. The 2021 panel of judges is stellar in that respect: distinguished and exacting, open-minded and hopeful. They are led by an historian whose global view of literature and its context is eminently equal to this global prize. I can’t wait to hear them discuss the results of their reading together.”
Maya Jasanoff, chair of 2021 Booker Prize judging panel, works as a professor at Harvard and has authored three books. She said, “In the pandemic more than ever, reading fiction has been a great source of stimulation and solace. It’s both a pleasure and an incredible honour to get to roam the pages of this year’s Anglophone novels and shine a light on extraordinary books and writers — and to do so in the company of such accomplished fellow judges feels like a gift.”
The Booker Prize is given to the best novel published in the UK in the previous year. Submissions for the 2021 prize started on December 16, 2020 and entries published between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 will be considered for the award.