The judges for the 2021 Booker Prize have been announced, less than a month after Douglas Stuart was named the latest winner of the prestigious literary award.
The Booker Prize Foundation announced Wednesday that historian and author Maya Jasanoff (Liberty’s Exiles, The Dawn Watch) will serve as chair of the judging panel. She’ll be joined by four other judges: former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, journalist Horatia Harrod, novelist Chigozie Obioma (The Fishermen, An Orchestra of Minorities), and actress Natascha McElhone.
“In the pandemic, more than ever, reading fiction has been a great source of stimulation and solace,” Jasanoff said in a statement. “It’s both a pleasure and an incredible honor 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.”
Besides Jasanoff and Obioma, two of the 2021 judges are also authors: Williams has written several books, including Being Christian and The Way of St. Benedict, and McElhone is the author of After You, a collection of letters she wrote to her late husband.
The Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious English-language literary awards in the world. Douglas Stuart won this year’s prize for his novel Shuggie Bain, and recent winners include Paul Beatty for The Sellout and Anna Burns for Milkman.
The 2021 Booker Prize longlist will be announced next July, with a shortlist following in the fall.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.