Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s “A Spell of Good Things” longlisted for Booker Prize

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s novel A Spell of Good Things has been longlisted for the 2023 Booker Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the English-speaking world. The novel is the only novel by a Nigerian author on the longlist.

A Spell of Good Things is set in modern-day Nigeria and tells the story of Ẹniọlá, a young boy who dreams of a better life for himself and his family. The novel explores themes of class, desire and the power of hope.

This year’s longlist was selected by a judging panel comprising twice-shortlisted novelist Esi Edugyan, actor Adjoa Andoh, poet Mary Jean Chan, Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro and actor and author Robert Webb.

“We read 163 novels across seven months, and in that time whole worlds opened to us. We were transported to early 20th-century Maine and Penang, to the vibrant streets of Lagos and the squash courts of London, to the blackest depths of the Atlantic, and into a dystopic Ireland where the terrifying loss of rights comes as a hard warning,” said judging chair Edugyan.

The novel has been praised by critics for its powerful storytelling, its vivid depiction of Nigerian life, and its exploration of complex themes.

A Spell of Good Things is a powerful, staggering read,” said The Guardian. “It is an examination of class and desire in modern-day Nigeria, but it is also a story about the power of hope.”

“Adébáyọ̀ is a masterful storyteller, and A Spell of Good Things is a novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it,” said The New York Times.

A Spell of Good Things is a beautiful and important novel that deserves to be read by everyone,” said The Washington Post.

The other writers on the longlist are:

This Other Eden by Paul Harding

Prophet Song  by Paul Lynch

The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein

Western Lane by Chetna Maroo

Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry

In Ascension by Martin MacInnes

All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Pearl by Siân Hughes

How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney

The longlist was announced on August 1, 2023, and the shortlist will be announced on September 12, 2023. The winner will be announced on October 26, 2023.

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