National Book Award for Fiction (from the US based National Book Foundation) and being one of six nominees for the Arthur C Clarke Award, The Underground Railroad has been taking the literary world by storm. The latest accolade to come the way of this exciting novel is to be included on the Longlist for the Booker Prize, arguably the premier award in any kind of literature.
Taking its name from the famous Underground Railroad that helped American slaves escape the clutches of their owners in the south and travel to a life of freedom in the north of the country. Whitehead’s interpretation translates this metaphor into a physical system, blending elements of historical fiction with fantasy against the evocative backdrop of slavery in the deep south.
Whitehead can count President Obama among the fans for this wonderful book and it is surely one of the front runners for the award.
The Booker Prize longlist will be first whittled down to a shortlist, to be announced on Wednesday 13th of September, before the eventual winner is chosen and announced on Tuesday 17th of October.
The full Longlist of nominees is:
4 3 2 1 – Paul Auster
Days Without End – Sebastian Barry
History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund
Exit West – Mohsin Hamid
Solar Bones – Mike McCormack
Reservoir 13 – Jon McGregor
Elmet – Fiona Mozley
The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders
Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie
Autumn – Ali Smith
Swing Time – Zadie Smith
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
You can read the full announcement, along with statements from the Booker Prize CEO and the chair of the judges, on the Booker Prize website here.