Two friends, both up for the Booker prize: 'We are exploring what it means to feel alien'

  The Guardian 
Brandon Taylor and C Pam Zhang, whose debuts are longlisted for this year’s Booker, talk about their close friendship, learning to write and dealing with grief It is rare for the debut novels on the Booker longlist to outnumber those by more established writers, but this year, at eight to five, they did. It is even rarer for two of those first-time writers to be close friends, but ever since they met at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the prestigious creative writing programme from which they graduated in 2019, that’s what Brandon Taylor and C Pam Zhang have been. When the longlist came out last week, Taylor tweeted a photograph from 2018, showing the manuscript of his longlisted novelReal Life, which follows a black, gay biochemist on a predominantly white graduate programme, alongside that of Zhang’s, How Much of These Hills Is Gold , about two orphaned Chinese-American immigrant children on the run in the American west. They worked on their books “side by side, shoulder to shoulder”

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