The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste on the Booker shortlist!

15 September 2020

We’re delighted that The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste has been shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize!

Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King casts a light on the women soldiers written out of African history. Here’s just some of the remarkable praise it’s already had:

“A beautiful and devastating work” Marlon James
“Unforgettable” The Times, Book of the Month
“Lyrical, remarkable . . . Breathtakingly skillful” New York Times
“A brilliant novel . . . Compulsively readable” Salman Rushdie
“A work born of rage, a rage made magnificent for its compassion and the story it tells us” Aminatta Forna
The Shadow King is a masterpiece” Washington Post

Find out more about this stunning novel here, or see the full shortlist here.

As members of the Independent Alliance, we’re also extremely proud and happy that no fewer than four of the six books on the shortlist are published by our Indie Alliance colleagues, so congratulations to all the authors and publishers on the list, put particularly to Faber (This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga), Oneworld (The New Wilderness by Diane Cook) and Daunt Books (Real Life by Brandon Taylor). It just goes to show the qualiity of work that indie publishers put out.

Jamie Byng, Canongate CEO:

“Being shortlisted for the Booker prize is a thrilling moment for any author and publisher. And so everyone at Canongate is utterly delighted that Maaza Mengiste has made this year’s shortlist with her stunning novel, The Shadow King. But what really sets this particular experience apart is that we, as proud members of the Independent Alliance, get to share in this feeling of immense jubilation with so many of our partners and their equally deserving authors.”

Jo Dingley, Commissioning Editor:

The Shadow King is a landmark work for so many reasons, it gives voice to the unsung female soldiers in a battle which was the first of WWII but has been very rarely tackled by writers of fiction, it took ten years of meticulous research to write, and now it is the first Ethiopian novel to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I am so very proud of Maaza and all she has achieved with this truly remarkable book, and equally proud that Canongate was able to play a part in its journey into the world.”