Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams joins Booker Prize judging panel

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will be on the judging panel for the 2021 Booker Prize.

Chigozie Obioma, who has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, actress Natascha McElhone, journalist Horatia Harrod and historian Maya Jasanoff will join him on the panel.

They have been tasked with deciding on the best work of long-form fiction published in English in the UK between October 1 2020 and September 30 2021.

The winner of the award will receive a £50,000 prize.

The 2019 Booker Prize Longlist announced
Chigozie Obioma (Booker Prizes/PA)

Jasanoff, who is the chair of the judging panel, said: “In the pandemic, more than ever, reading fiction has been a great source of stimulation and solace.

“It’s both a pleasure and an incredible honour to get to roam the pages of this year’s Anglophone novels and shine a light on extraordinary books and writers – and to do so in the company of such accomplished fellow judges feels like a gift.”

A longlist of 12 or 13 books will be announced in July, with a shortlist of six to follow in the autumn.

The winner will then be revealed in November.

Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “When Douglas Stuart won the 2020 Booker Prize, he told Bernardine Evaristo, from whom he took the baton, that she had ‘lifted all voices’ and that he hoped to do her proud in the year to come.

The 2020 Booker Prize Awards Ceremony
Douglas Stuart (David Parry/PA)

“Booker Prize judges never speculate about the spirit in which the winner will accept the prize – their remit is to choose the best book, nothing else.

“But the warmth with which recent winners have been received by readers is a heartening consequence: the more people believe the Booker Prize is for them, the better it will be for good writing and good reading overall.”

She said there is a “stellar” line-up on the judging panel, adding: “They are led by an historian whose global view of literature and its context is eminently equal to this global prize.

“I can’t wait to hear them discuss the results of their reading together.”

Stuart was unveiled as the winner of the 2020 prize last month for his novel Shuggie Bain.