The 2022 Booker Prize longlist has been announced, offering ‘story, fable and parable, fantasy, mystery, meditation and thriller’.
This year sees a second nomination for Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo, whose debut novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the prize in 2013.
Bulawayo is longlisted this year for Glory, a fable set in the fictional nation of Jidada, inspired by the 2017 coup that ousted Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president of nearly four decades. The novel traces the fall of Old Horse after forty years in power, alongside his abhorrent wife, a donkey named Marvellous.
Other authors receiving their second nomination are Karen Joy Fowler and Graeme Macrae Burnet, who were previously shortlisted for the prize, and Elizabeth Strout, who was previously longlisted.
Three debut novelists make the list: Maddie Mortimer, Leila Mottley and Selby Wynn Schwartz. At twenty years old, Mottley is the youngest author ever to be nominated for the award, and at eighty-seven Alan Garner is the eldest. Garner will, in fact, turn eighty-eight on the date of the award ceremony, 17 October. Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These, meanwhile, at 116 pages, is the shortest book ever nominated in the prize’s history.
For the first time, the majority of the longlist titles have been produced by independent publishers. Publishers making their first Booker appearance are Influx Press and Sort of Books.
Six of the thirteen authors longlisted this year are American, three are British, two are Irish, one is Sri Lankan, and one is Zimbabwean.
Chair of the judges Neil MacGregor said:
‘Over the last seven months or so, we have read and discussed 169 works of fiction, all written in English, by authors and about subjects from all over the globe. 169 journeys to worlds conjured and created by the wielding of words alone. The skill with which writers shape and sustain those variously imagined worlds, and allow others to inhabit them, has been our main criterion in proposing this longlist of thirteen books. Exceptionally well written and carefully crafted, in whatever genre, they seem to us to exploit and expand what the language can do. The list that we have selected offers story, fable and parable, fantasy, mystery, meditation and thriller.
‘The task of whittling 169 down to thirteen has been as enjoyable as it has been arduous. We, the five judges, bring such different approaches and experiences to our reading, that left to ourselves, we would probably have produced five very different lists. But we read these books as a group, disagreeing and discussing, comparing, reconsidering and re-reading, and together we reached a striking degree of consensus. These are thirteen books— challenging, stimulating, surprising, nourishing —that we recommend for close and enjoyable reading.’
2022 Booker Prize longlist
- NoViolet Bulawayo – Glory (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, Penguin Random House)
- Hernan Diaz – Trust (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
- Percival Everett – The Trees (Influx Press)
- Karen Joy Fowler – Booth (Serpent’s Tail, Profile Books)
- Alan Garner – Treacle Walker (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
- Shehan Karunatilaka – The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (Sort of Books)
- Claire Keegan – Small Things Like These (Faber)
- Graeme Macrae Burnet – Case Study (Saraband)
- Audrey Magee – The Colony (Faber)
- Maddie Mortimer – Maps of our Spectacular Bodies (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
- Leila Mottley – Nightcrawling (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
- Selby Wynn Schwartz – After Sappho (Galley Beggar Press)
- Elizabeth Strout – Oh William! (Viking, Penguin General, Penguin Random House)
First awarded in 1969, the Booker Prize is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The judges this year are MacGregor, Shahidha Bari, Helen Castor, M John Harrison and Alain Mabanckou.
The shortlist will be announced on 6 September at the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the winner will be announced at the Roundhouse on 17 October.
The Booker Prize winner receives £50,000 (just over R1 million). Each of the six authors shortlisted will receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The impact of the Booker Prize is legendary to a book’s sales. In the twelve weeks after his win, Galgut sold more copies of his books in the United Kingdom than he had in the previous seventeen years, since he had first been published there. Rights to The Promise have reportedly been sold into thirty-five languages and/or territories, and it’s said to have become a bestseller in Greece and Germany.