The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:00 am


US-based authors dominate Booker list

Associated Press

A Zimbabwean writer who was arrested during anti-government protests is among six finalists announced Tuesday for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction.

Tsitsi Dangarembga was nominated for “This Mournable Body,” which links the breakdown of its central character and turmoil in post-colonial Zimbabwe.

Dangarembga was arrested in July and spent a night in detention for standing by a Harare road and holding up a placard that said “We Want Better. Reform Our Institutions.”

The Booker list is dominated by books from American or U.S.-based authors including “The Shadow King” by Ethiopia-born Maaza Mengiste, Diane Cook's dystopian tale “The New Wilderness,” Avni Doshi's India-set “Burnt Sugar” and Brandon Taylor's campus novel “Real Life.”

Only one British writer made the cut for the U.K.'s leading book prize: Douglas Stuart for “Shuggie Bain,” the story of a boy in 1980s Glasgow.

The winner will be revealed Nov. 17, though the traditional black-tie dinner ceremony at London's medieval Guildhall has been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in 1969, the prize is open to English-language authors from around the world

This year's shortlist includes four debut novelists – Doshi, Cook, Stuart and Taylor – and omits high-profile books including Anne Tyler's “Redhead by the Side of the Road” and “The Mirror and the Light,” the conclusion of Hilary Mantel's acclaimed Tudor trilogy. Mantel won the Booker for both its predecessors, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies.”

Thriller writer Lee Child, one of the judges, said Mantel's book was “an absolutely wonderful novel.”

“But as good as it was, there were some books that were better,” he said.

Swift to perform

Country-turned-pop star Taylor Swift is coming back to her roots with a performance at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards.

The nine-time ACM award winner will perform from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, where the awards show will be broadcast tonight on CBS.

Swift will perform “betty” from her new album “Folklore,” which has held the top spot on for six weeks on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The song, which is being played on country radio stations, has reached No. 6 on Billboard's Hot Country song chart.

This marks the first time in seven years that the two-time ACM entertainer of the year has performed at this awards show and will be her world premiere performance for any song from her “Folklore” album.

Other performers scheduled for the show include Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood and Dan + Shay.

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