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Holding Thumbs for Chigozie Obioma: 2015 Man Booker Prize to Be Announced Tonight


The winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize will be announced at the Guildhall in London, UK, tonight. Here is all you need to know ahead of the ceremony.

This year’s prestigious prize will be chosen from the following six books:

Satin IslandA Brief History of Seven KillingsThe FishermenThe Year of the RunawaysA Spool of Blue ThreadA Little Life


The bookmakers have tipped American author Hanya Yanagihara as the favourite to win this year’s prize since the July longlist announcement. Her novel A Little Life, is over 700 pages long, and was called a “relentlessly harrowing human epic” by The Guardian, while The New Yorker praised its “subversive brilliance”. The New Statesman, however, believes the novel “explores abuse but sheds little new light on her subject”.

The Man Booker Prize opened entries to English-language writers of all nationalities two years ago, after previously being restricted to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth. Last year’s winner was Australia’s Richard Flanagan, for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

The shortlisted authors all received £2 500 (about R51 000), while the winner is handed a cheque for £50 000 (about R1 030 000).

This judging panel is chaired by author and academic Michael Wood, who is joined by critic, broadcaster and editor Ellah Allfrey, novelist John Burnside, The Spectator’s literary editor Sam Leith, and author Frances Osborne.

Obioma was recently announced as the winner of the inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Fiction Award, and at 28 he is the youngest author on the Booker Prize shortlist.

“It’s crazy, really, but it’s very humbling too,” he told BBC Radio 4. “Finally my dream has been fulfilled. I’ve always wanted to have a book that people will actually read.”

Listen to the podcast, which begins with an interview with Marlon James, the first writer from Jamaica to make the shortlist in the prize’s 47-year history:

Obioma explained the genesis of his novel for The Guardian:

In 2009, I was away from Nigeria, in Cyprus, and I was homesick. I had a call from my dad one day, and during the conversation he mentioned my two oldest brothers who used to have a sibling rivalry growing up that would sometimes spiral into violence. My dad mentioned that they were so close now, in their early 30s. After the conversation, I started to reflect on what was the worst that could have happened during those days when they would beat each other up. Also, around that time I was reading a book by Will Durant titled The Story of Civilisation, in which he stresses that a civilisation cannot be destroyed from the outside, but from within. The idea of writing a story about a close-knit family came up, and then I wanted to explore the idea of an external force that would come from the outside and destroy a united family.

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