Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize

30 Jul 2020

Maaza Mengiste’s acclaimed second novel, The Shadow King, has made the Long List for the 2020 Booker Prize!

Set during Italy’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, the novel explores female power and casts light on the women soldiers written out of African and European history.

With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, the recently orphaned Hirut longs to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Ethiopia loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale, and soon inspires other women to take up arms.

In January this year, the Embassy hosted the UK launch of the novel where Maaza said it took her ten years to research and write the novel, and in the process, she ended up learning Italian.

When asked why she focused on women she said that that wasn’t her plan, initially. Her research changed everything when she started finding hints and old photographs of Ethiopian women who had been enlisted into the army.

The longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges, including Ethio-British writer and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay. The list was chosen from 162 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1st October 2019 and 30th September 2020.

The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

The shortlist of six books will be announced on 15th September. The 2020 winner will be announced in November. The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize receives £50,000 and can expect international recognition. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.

Latest News

Browse all
Message from Ambassador Teferi on the occasion of New Year 2022 and Ethiopian Christmas (Genna). The year 2021 has shown us that although our challenges are great, each of one us, as Ethiopians, has the courage and determination to rise up and meet them, and that we should look forward to a future of peace, prosperity, unity, and opportunity.
6 Jan 2022
Message from the Ambassador
Following the successful launch of the e-visa process in 2018, the Immigration Nationality and Vital Events Agency has announced the commencement of the Digital INVEA application aimed at modernising, simplifying and integrating its service offering. We, therefore, recommend all prospective customers to visit www.digitalinvea.com.
26 Oct 2021
Notice: Important Changes to Consular Services
As a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia has through the years amply demonstrated its commitment to the UN Charter. UN agencies, in particular, those in the humanitarian area also had a long presence in Ethiopia providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to millions. It goes without saying that Ethiopia appreciates all the support that these UN agencies have been extending…
1 Oct 2021
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release on the Expulsion of UN Officials
A collection of Ethiopian artefacts that were looted by British soldiers during the Battle of Maqdala in 1868 are set to be returned to Ethiopia following a poignant handover ceremony at the prestigious Athenaeum Club in London on 8th September 2021. The objects were procured by the Scheherazade Foundation through auctions and private dealers.
9 Sep 2021
Artefacts looted in Maqdala in 1868 to be returned to Ethiopia
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum, held on 2 September 2020.
2 Sep 2021
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Northern Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara, and Tigray Regions) - 26 August 2021, Addis Ababa 
26 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 26 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray and Northern Ethiopia - 20 August 2021
20 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 20 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray 12 August 2021
12 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 12 August 2021
Reaffirming our commitment to the protection of refugees, we request the UN Human Rights Commission to correct the biased and partial opinions of its rapporteur. We also call the Commission and other international humanitarian organizations to help our efforts of rescuing the refugees from the imminent danger they are in and assist our efforts of investigating the issue.
7 Aug 2021
A Response to the Statement by the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Regarding the Situation of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia
The Government will take all the necessary measures to ensure that these sacred places and other institutions are well protected and call on the international community to condemn this heinous act of the TPLF.
6 Aug 2021
Press Statement on Protection of Cultural Sites
The Government of Ethiopia has been committed to the Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire that it has declared on 28 June 2021 in a bid to give respite to the people of Tigray and make use of the farming season. Regrettably, the TPLF has failed to reciprocate.
6 Aug 2021
Statement on preoccupying issues in Ethiopia and the way forward
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray.
5 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 5 August 2021