For the fourth time in three years, the Booker Prizes have partnered with Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s production company Merman on a series of short films featuring well-known performers reading extracts from the latest prize’s shortlisted books.

The new films showcase the 2024 shortlist for the International Booker Prize, the world’s leading award for fiction translated into English, and the performers include multi-award-winning singer songwriter Dua Lipa, alongside actors Eleanor Tomlinson (One Day, Poldark, The Outlaws), David Jonsson (Rye Lane, Industry), Tobias Menzies (The Crown, Game of Thrones, Manhunt), Anya Chalotra (The Witcher, Wanderlust) and Antonia Thomas (Still Up, Lovesick, The Good Doctor).

The new shortlist films are directed by Charlotte Hamblin, a screenwriter, actor and director known for her performances in Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Operation Mincemeat. They will be published on the Booker Prizes website and social channels from 25 April 2024.

Gaby Wood, Chief Executive of the Booker Prize Foundation, says: ‘Over the three years we’ve worked with the exceptional team at Merman, the Booker shortlist films have become a huge hit, reaching over 20 million people on our social channels and taking the work of the world’s best writers to new audiences. It’s been gratifying to see how many of these highly engaged viewers say how excited they are to read the books as a result of watching the films. We’re especially lucky to work with world-class performers with huge fanbases, who have not only brought these stories to life in a matter of minutes but helped to spread them far and wide.

‘We know that the International Booker Prize is of particular interest to younger readers: half of all buyers of translated fiction in the UK are under 35 – a group now dubbed “Generation TF”. This season Anya Chalotra, David Jonsson, Dua Lipa, Tobias Menzies, Antonia Thomas and Eleanor Tomlinson, who have read from the shortlisted books with great poignancy and elegance, will speak to that generation and many more. We couldn’t be more grateful, or more proud of this collaboration.’

Joshua Buckingham, Executive Producer and Head of Merman Scotland, says: ‘We at Merman are delighted to continue producing these brilliant films with the Booker Prizes team. We love bringing to life the superb shortlisted novels for the International Booker Prize. Under Charlotte Hamblin’s direction, Harry Zundel’s cinematography and Nanw Rowlands’ casting we’ve managed to evolve the films again and do justice to the incredible extracts. In truth this is a dream job as the Booker Prizes team is so collaborative and we are working with the best in translated fiction.’

The previous sets of films produced by Merman for the Booker Prizes were directed by Kevin Thomas and Hannah Berry George, and featured performances from Anna Friel, Jarvis Cocker, David Harewood, Nikki Amuka Bird, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Sharon Horgan, Adjoa Andoh, Aisling Bea, Jessica Brown Findlay, Toby Stephens, Michelle de Swarte, Osy Ikhile, Caitríona Balfe, Alfred Enoch, Bel Powley, Paterson Joseph, Susan Lynch and Nina Wadia.

Jon Creamer

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