Debut novelist Patricia Lockwood has a theory about her 2021 Booker nomination: that the esteemed British literary prize put her book on their shortlist for, well, clout. No One Is Talking About This—written in the ultra-specific parlance of the internet-obsessed—is no doubt an edgy choice for the historic award. “Do you think it’s to be cool?” Lockwood asked one interviewer, who remarked on the “so not Booker” quality of the freewheeling, experimental novel. The Booker has always had to maintain a fine balance of elite acclaim and popular support in its nomination choices. “If winners are seen as too obscure, there is a risk the public blows cool and the book-trade becomes testy, ” Charlotte Higgins wrote in an essay about the prize for The Guardian. “If the prize veers too mainstream, though, that is also a problem, since the Booker is supposed to be decided on loftier criteria than mere commercial This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Jenny Odell The acclaimed author in search of lost time. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Amalie Smith The Danish arts writer finding clarity between the lines. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Ryan Heffington Meet the man bringing choreography, community and queer joy to the desert. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Nell Wulfhart Advice from a decision coach. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 49 A World of Difference A fun lesson in cultural faux pas.