Stephen Sackur speaks to the Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other.
The 2020 Booker Prize ceremony live from the Roundhouse, London, with last year's winner Bernardine Evaristo, chair of judges Margaret Busby and a contribution from Barack Obama
In advance of the announcement of the winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, Elle Osili-Wood and guests discuss some of the issues raised by this year’s shortlist.
Elle Osili-Wood discusses the role of the Booker Prize and other literary awards, with publisher Ellah Wakatama, literary critic John Self and novelist Sara Collins.
Elle Osili-Wood discusses the number of debut novels on this year’s Booker Prize shortlist, with publisher Ellah Wakatama, literary critic John Self and novelist Sara Collins.
Elle Osili-Wood discusses what fiction tells us about the times we’re living through, with publisher Ellah Wakatama, literary critic John Self and novelist Sara Collins
The Scottish writer's book about a boy and his mother's struggles in 1980s Glasgow won the 2020 prize.
By Molara Wood
Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga's This Mournable Body is on the Booker Prize 2020 shortlist.
Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her book The Shadow King.
Award-winning Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga says winning the Booker Prize would "cause the world to take me more seriously than it had done up until I came on to the Booker scene".
Her latest book, This Mournable Body, is on the Booker Prize shortlist, which was unveiled earlier this month.
"It will make me feel better about myself," she told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.
"And I would hope it will come with some financial benefits so that I wouldn't be scraping from hand to mouth all the time as I am most of the time now, which has been exhausting."
Here is the full interview:
Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengiste has told the BBC of the lengths she went to while writing her Booker Prize-nominated novel The Shadow King - including learning Italian, and binning her first draft after five years of work.
"It was the worst thing I had ever written," she told BBC Focus on Africa radio. "It was completely debilitating, it was so demoralising. I threw that draft away and started at page zero."
In all, the book took Mengiste 10 years to complete.
Writing is, she added, "a process of excavation getting to a point of inspiration. It was sometimes a daily struggle to come to my desk and sit. I have grown with the book... I am absolutely overjoyed to be on this [prize] list."
The novel is set during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.
"For this book I learned Italian to move away from creating stereotypes. I wanted to talk to Italians, descendants of soldiers, and read their archives, letters and diaries on my own," Mengiste said.
"As my language skills developed... my characters were getting more complicated as well."
The Booker Prize, the UK's most prestigious literary award, is open to any novel written in English published in the UK or Ireland by an author of any nationality. Zimbabwe's Tsitsi Dangarembga is also in the running, for This Mournable Body.
The winner will be announced on 17 November.
Novels by Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ethiopian-American Maaza Mengiste have both made the six-book shortlist for the prestigious Booker Prize.
Dangarembga's This Mournable Body is a sequel to her 1988 book Nervous Conditions, which has since become a classic, and continues the story of Tambu.
In a tweet, she said she was "overwhelmed and delighted" by the nomination:
Set in the 1930s, Mengiste's The Shadow King focuses on the life of an orphan as Italy's wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's forces threaten to invade Ethiopia.
"I don't know what to say. OH MY GOD!" is what she tweeted in response to the news that she was shortlisted:
Last year, British-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo became the first black woman to win the prize for her book Girl, Woman, Other.
Previous African winners include Nadine Gordimer, JM Coetzee and Ben Okri.
The other books shortlisted for this year's award are:
- The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
- Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
- Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor
The winner, who will receive $64,000 (£50,000), will be announced on 17 November.
Any book written in English and published in Britain is eligible for the award.
"The space for civil liberties is shrinking in Zimbabwe in an alarming manner... we have a constitutional right to demonstrate but we still run the risk of being arrested."
BBC News, Harare
Award-winning Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga, a nominee for this year's Booker Prize, has been released on bail after her arrest on Friday during an anti-government demonstration.
She and Fadzayi Mahere, spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, appeared in court on Saturday on charges of inciting public violence and unnecessary travel during the coronavirus lockdown.
They were arrested in separate incidents near their homes during solo or small demonstrations denouncing alleged human rights abuses and corruption.
Most people had stayed at home on Friday amidst a heavy presence of security forces across cities nationwide.
The two women were in good spirits during their court appearance in the capital, Harare, but complained of squalid and unsanitary conditions in prison.
The government has accused the opposition of aiming to use protests to try and overthrow it, amidst a deepening economic crisis and rising discontent.
Rights group Amnesty International described the arrests as a continuation of the abductions and arbitrary detentions of those who are critical of the government.
Local human rights groups say dozens of people - including opposition supporters, activists and journalists - have been arrested, assaulted and abducted in the last few weeks.
Security forces continue to patrol the capital, Harare.
Last Tuesday, it was announced that Dangarembga’s novel This Mournable Body was among the books longlisted for this year's prestigious Booker Prize.
The list will be whittled down from 13 to a shortlist of six in September.
Watch more about events on Friday in Zimbabwe: