Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s second novel, A Spell of Good Things, is longlisted alongside 12 other books for the 2023 Booker Prize.
By Helena Olori
A Spell of Good Things, a book by Nigerian novelist, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, has been longlisted for the highly acclaimed 2023 Booker Prize literary award. The anticipated announcement came in on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023. The 2023 longlist, dubbed the “Booker Dozen,” comprises 13 books from authors of diverse backgrounds, including four debut novelists, with ten authors making their first appearance in the Booker Prize nomination list.
According to the Booker Prize, “All 13 novels cast new light on what it means to exist in our time, and they do so in original and thrilling ways.” The selected books explore universal themes, such as personal dramas, family sagas, climate change, minority oppression, science, and sport.
The longlist features writers from seven countries across four continents, with Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ standing out as the only African nominee and the fifth Nigerian novelist to be longlisted for the Booker Prize.
The news of her selection has caused excitement within the African literary community, and she has received praise for her remarkable literary achievements on the international platform.
Describing Adébáyọ̀’s novel, the 2023 judging panel wrote, “A Spell of Good Things is an examination of class and desire in modern-day Nigeria. While Eniola’s poverty prevents him from getting the education he desperately wants, Wuraola finds that wealth is no barrier against life’s harsher realities. A powerful, staggering read.”
A Spell of Good Things is the second novel by the Norwich-based Nigerian author. Her debut novel, Stay With Me, won the 9mobile Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for several other awards including the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction, the Wellcome Book Prize, and the Kwani Manuscript Project. Stay With Me has also been translated into 20 languages, with the French translation receiving the Prix Les Afriques award.
The Booker Prize longlist also consists of the following books; The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng; The Bee Sting by Paul Murray; Western Lane by Chetna Maroo; In Ascension by Martin MacInnes; Prophet Song by Paul Lynch; All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow; Pearl by Siân Hughes; This Other Eden by Paul Harding; How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney; If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery; Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein; and Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry.
A jury of five literary experts, chaired by the two-time shortlisted Booker Prize novelist, Esi Edugyan, will judge the longlisted books. The judges will unveil a shortlist of six books on September 21, 2023, and the winner will be announced at an event in London’s Old Billingsgate on November 26, 2023. The winner will receive a grand cash prize of £50,000.
Established in 1969, the Booker Prize is considered a leading global literary award and a benchmark for literary excellence. It is the most prestigious recognition for exceptional fiction works published in the UK and Ireland.