The 2023 Booker shortlist

The 2023 Booker shortlist has been announced, with the longlist now whittled down to just six books.
It is an incredibly varied and diverse selection of works featuring books by six authors, none of whom have ever been previously shortlisted for the Booker, and includes two debut novels.

The range, depth and diversity of the titles shows how healthy the worldwide literary fiction scene is.  Selected novels range widely in genre, with writers also coming from very different social and cultural backgrounds. These works engage in very different ways with many of the most pressing issues of our times; such as erosion of personal freedoms, immigration, climate change, political extremism and the persecution of minorities.

The six shortlisted titles are:

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

Western Lane by Chetna Maroo

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch

This Other Eden by Paul Harding

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein

The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced in London, on November 26, 2023.

The full Booker 2023 shortlist is available to borrow or reserve from the library and is listed below:

The bee sting / Murray, Paul
“The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie’s once-lucrative car business is going under – but rather than face the music, he’s spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife, Imelda, is selling off her jewellery on eBay and half-heartedly dodging the attentions of fast-talking cattle farmer Big Mike, while their teenage daughter Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge-drink her way to her final exams. And twelve-year-old PJ, in debt to local sociopath ‘Ears’ Moran, is putting the final touches to his grand plan to run away from home…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Western lane / Maroo, Chetna
“After the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Gopi, who has been playing squash since she was a small child, is enlisted in a quietly brutal training regimen by her father, and soon the game becomes her world as she slowly distances herself from her sisters in hopes of becoming the best.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.

Prophet song / Lynch, Paul
“A fearless portrait of a society on the brink as a mother faces a terrible choice, from an internationally award-winning author” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook.


This other Eden : a novel / Harding, Paul
” In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discover an island where they can make a life together. Over a century later, the Honeys’ descendants and a diverse group of neighbors are desperately poor, isolated, and often hungry, but nevertheless protected from the hostility awaiting them on the mainland. During the tumultuous summer of 1912, Matthew Diamond, a retired, idealistic but prejudiced schoolteacher-turned-missionary, disrupts the community’s fragile balance through his efforts to educate its children. His presence attracts the attention of authorities on the mainland who, under the influence of the eugenics-thinking popular among progressives of the day, decide to forcibly evacuate the island, institutionalize its residents, and develop the island as a vacation destination…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

If I survive you / Escoffery, Jonathan
“In the 1970s, Topper and Sanya flee to Miami as political violence consumes their native Kingston. But America, as the couple and their two children learn, is far from the promised land. Excluded from society as Black immigrants, the family pushes on through Hurricane Andrew and later the 2008 recession, living in a house so cursed that the pet fish launches itself out of its own tank rather than stay. But even as things fall apart, the family remains motivated, often to its own detriment, by what their younger son, Trelawny, calls “the exquisite, racking compulsion to survive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Study for obedience / Bernstein, Sarah
“A woman moves from the place of her birth to a remote northern country to be housekeeper to her brother, whose wife has just left him. The youngest child of many siblings–more than she cares to remember –from earliest childhood she has attended to their every desire, smoothed away the slightest discomfort with perfect obedience, with the highest degree of devotion. Soon after she arrives, a series of unfortunate events occurs–collective bovine hysteria; the demise of a ewe and her nearly-born lamb; a local dog’s phantom pregnancy; a potato blight. She notices that the local suspicion about incomers in general seems to be directed particularly in her case…” (Catalogue)