NIGERIAN novelist Chigozie Obioma has had his second novel An Orchestra of Minorities shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize after the organisers announced a shortlist of six books yesterday.
In 2015, Obioma’s first novel, The Fishermen, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and since then, it has been translated into 27 languages and has received several awards. In addition to being listed as a 2015 New York Times Sunday Book Review Notable Book and a New York Times Sunday Book Review Editor’s Choice selection, The Fishermen was named a best book of the year for 2015 by The Observer in the UK, The Economist, The Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Apple/iBook, Book Riot, the Minnesota Star Tribune, NPR, Library Journal, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the New Zealand Listener, Relevant Magazine and British GQ.
It was also named as one of the American Library Association‘s five best debuts of spring 2015, as Publishers Weekly book of the week and one of Kirkus Reviews′ 10 Novels to Lose Yourself In. Obioma, born in 1986, is a Nigerian writer and assistant professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Other novels on the shortlist for the 2019 Booker Prize include Quichotte by Salman Rushdie, The Testament by Margaret Atwood, Ducks by Lucy Ellmann, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo and 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak. The winner of this prestigious prize will be announced on 14 October at the Guildhall in London.
Chigozie has been called, in a New York Times book review, the heir to Chinua Achebe and in 2015, he was named one of 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. Born into a family of 12 children, including seven brothers and four sisters in Akure, Chigozie grew up speaking Yoruba, Igbo, and English.
As a child, he was fascinated by Greek myths and the British masters, including Shakespeare, John Milton, and John Bunyan. He added that the idea for the novel came when he reflected on his father’s joy at the growing bond between his two eldest brothers who, as children, had maintained a strong rivalry that would sometimes culminate in fistfights.