C Pam Zhang’s “How Much of These Hills is Gold” Makes Booker Prize Longlist

A Chinese American tale set in the Gold Rush is up for one of the biggest prizes in literature

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7:02 AM HKT, Wed July 29, 2020 1 mins read

The longlist for one of the biggest awards in literature was announced today, as the organizers of the 2020 Booker Prize announced their “Booker’s dozen” selection of nominees.

Alongside the likes of Hillary Mantel and Tsitsi Dangarembga — both looking to complete a hat trick of Booker wins for their respective trilogies — is Chinese American writer C Pam Zhang with her debut novel How Much of These Hills is Gold.

“An epic debut novel about family and the search for both a home and a fortune,” according to the Booker blurb, Zhang’s book, “tells an untold story of the arrival of Chinese-American immigrants to the US during the Gold Rush. It’s a novel about conflict between two siblings, carrying the body of their newly deceased father across a harsh landscape.”

Writing in The Observer, Bidisha described the book as “the boldest debut of the year” back in May. The New York Times called it “arresting” and “beautiful.” The work has also been praised for highlighting the presence of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush period, something that has historically received little recognition.

Zhang was born in Beijing but moved to the US at the age of four and is described as “mostly an artifact of the United States.” Judging by her Twitter, the San Francisco-based author was justifiably excited by the news of making the longlist:

Last year’s Booker Prize was won jointly by Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo. The shortlist of six books will be announced in mid-September; the winner will be revealed in November.


You can find out more about How Much of These Hills is Gold via the publisher Penguin Random House here.

Cover image from C Pam Zhang’s Twitter account.

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