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 45 Yoga with Adriene The internet’s best friend is—finally—finding her own flow. Arts & Culture Garden Issue 45 Piet Oudolf The Dutch designer bringing life—and death—to traditional gardens. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Thomas MacDonell The conservationist transforming the Highlands. Arts & Culture Design Issue 45 The New Craftsmen From the Outer Hebrides to central London, Catherine Lock is celebrating the crafts heritage of Great Britain. Arts & Culture Music Issue 45 Gerard & Kelly On dance, domesticity and the giants of modernism. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Hang in There How to make the best of a bad job.