O.C. Native Shortlisted for Booker Prize

Maggie Shipstead will discuss her novel at an event next month in Newport Beach.

Mission Viejo native Maggie Shipstead is one of three American authors to make the shortlist for the 2021 Booker Prize, considered among the world’s most prestigious literary awards. The finalists were announced Tuesday in London.

Her novel, “Great Circle,” tells the twin tales of an adventurous female pilot who aims to circumnavigate the globe and the Hollywood actress cast to portray her on-screen years later. Also among the American finalists are Patricia Lockwood for “No One Is Talking About This” and Richard Powers for “Bewilderment.”

Rounding out the nominees are Anuk Arundpragasam, from Sri Lanka, for “A Passage North,” Damon Galgut, from South Africa, for “The Promise,” and Nadifa Mohamed, from Great Britain, for “The Fortune Men.”

Former Booker winner and Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, author of “Klara and the Sun,” was among the novelists on the 13-author long list but failed to make the cut.

Shipstead will discuss the novel and her globe-trotting research at a fundraising happy-hour event Oct. 9 at the Newport Beach Public Library. The event will support the library’s Project Adult Literacy. Ticket information and other details are available at newportliteracy.org.

Shipstead, who grew up in Coto de Caza and is the author of the novels “Seating Arrangements” (2012) and “Astonish Me” (2014), isn’t the first writer with Orange County ties to be shortlisted for the prize. Joshua Ferris, who earned an MFA from UC Irvine’s Programs in Writing, was a finalist for “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” in 2014, when the award was known as the Man Booker Prize.

The Australian writer Thomas Keneally, who taught at UC Irvine’s famed fiction writing program from 1991 to 1995, was shortlisted twice for “Gossip from the Forest” in 1975 and “Confederates” in 1979 before winning the award for “Schindler’s Ark” in 1982.

The prize celebrates novels written in English and published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This year’s winner will be announced Nov. 3 in London. The winner will receive 50,000 pounds or about $69,000.

Read Orange Coast’s coverage of Shipstead and “Great Circle” here: https://www.orangecoast.com/arts-culture/mission-viejo-native-on-her-latest-novel-great-circle/

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