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 47 Alice Sheppard On dance as a channel to commune with the body—even when it hurts. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Dr. Woo Meet the tattoo artist who's inked LA. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Walt Odets The author and clinical psychologist on why self-acceptance is the key to a gay man's well-being. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 47 A Picture of Health Xiaopeng Yuan photographs the world’s weirdest wellness cures. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Chani Nicholas and Sonya Passi Inside the astrology company on a mission to prove workplace well-being is more than a corporate tagline. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Julia Bainbridge On the life-enhancing potential of not drinking alcohol.