Doncaster hosts The Booker Prize shortlist – 2020

Doncaster has been named as The Booker Prize for Fiction’s partner for its regional events in 2020.

The partnership with Doncaster Creates, the dynamic arts programme set up to nurture the creativity in the town, will see a series of literary events taking place over the next few months including a search for local writing talent.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, welcomed the news for the borough: “I am so proud that Doncaster has been chosen to partner with such a legendary literary giant as The Booker Prize – this is a major achievement for us and I am delighted at the news.

“So many people in Doncaster will be excited about this partnership, and I am certain this partnership will bring such positive and lasting legacy for book lovers and writers alike. I am looking forward to seeing the range of events take place and would encourage the borough to get behind this.”

Following yesterday’s announcement of the 2020 Booker Prize’s much awaited shortlist, Doncaster Creates can reveal three major projects this Autumn that accompany the lead-in to this year’s coveted Booker Prize:

  • In Conversation, Friday 13 November - in a digital co-production with The Booker Prize, Doncaster Creates hosts the regional discussion with the six shortlisted authors, in the lead up to the winner announcement.
  • Open Mic, Friday 20 November - in the days following The Booker Prize announcement on November 17, 2017 Man Booker shortlisted author Fiona Mozley and  2020 Booker judge Lemn Sissay MBE, writer and broadcaster, host a live streamed Open Mic event, reaching both a local and international audience, reading passages from their work side-by-side with Doncaster writers.
  • Doncaster New Writer Prize - as both the finale and legacy of the partnership Fiona Mozley will lead the search for a Doncaster New Writer to mentor - the award will be announced in January 2021.

Juliet Farrar, executive director at Doncaster Creates said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be announcing Doncaster as partner town for regional events for this year’s Booker Prize.

“We’re really looking forward to hosting these  amazing events this autumn to celebrate literature and to be working with Booker authors. Doncaster has a strong tradition in inspirational creative writing and reading initiatives with people from all walks of life. These events will build on the fantastic work of our partners Doncaster Libraries and the National Literacy Trust’s Doncaster Stories campaign, which brings the transformative power of reading and high-quality writing to communities”

“Our partnership with The Booker Prize presents a real opportunity for Doncaster talent to reveal some of the unsung narratives – once described to me as ‘the grit and the grandeur’.

“Because of the global Covid-19 pandemic our events, that were due to be in person, will now be digital. This presents a unique opportunity to reach more people, for

positivity: for people to share and chat with others they wouldn’t have otherwise met – when being able to ‘connect’ is so valuable.

“We’ll be talking to shortlisted authors and sharing their stories with audiences across the globe from our Doncaster base, we’ll be bringing stories to life in The Books That Made Us when local people share their literary gems and we’ll be searching for new writing talent in our town with the chosen winner gaining insight and knowledge from a Booker author as their prize.”

The Rt Hon Ed Miliband stated, "It’s incredibly exciting that The Booker Prize, which is so internationally famous, has chosen Doncaster as its partner this year. The team of people involved put together a compelling case and it shows once again that Doncaster can be at the centre of the most exciting, important arts projects. I know that, despite the restrictions of coronavirus, Booker, Doncaster Creates and Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust have worked hard to develop some brilliant projects. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing more from Doncaster’s new writers because I know there is such talent in the town."

Doncaster Creates will also be running a literary campaign called Doncaster: The Books That Made Us - beginning October 2020, residents and authors are invited to reveal the books that challenged them or changed their lives in an extended online conversation by uploading a video or written anecdotes (participants automatically get the chance to win a copy of one of the shortlisted books).

To find out more about Doncaster Creates and the successful projects visit our new website www.doncastercreates.org