The 2022 Booker Prize longlist of 13 books, referred to as the “Booker dozen” and released here on Tuesday, is dominated by American authors, including previously longlisted writer Elizabeth Strout.
Hernan Diaz is in the race for ‘Trust’, Percival Everett for ‘The Trees’, Karen Joy Fowler for ‘Booth’, Leila Mottley for ‘Nightcrawling’, Selby Wynn Schwartz for ‘After Sappho’ and Strout for ‘Oh William!’. Besides the six Americans, the list includes two British authors – Alan Garner for ‘Treacle Walker’ and ‘Maddie Mortimer for 'Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies’. The Booker 13 is completed by Irish writers Audrey Magee for the book ‘The Colony’ and Claire Keegan for ‘Small Things Like These’ and Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo for ‘Glory’. Sri Lankan Shehan Karunatilaka is the only subcontinent entry this year with ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’.
“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,” said writer-broadcaster Neil MacGregor, chair of the 2022 Booker Prize judging panel.
“All 13 books, of course, reflect — and reflect on — the preoccupations of our planet over the last few years. Unsurprisingly, in the wake of the pandemic, they address how we imagine disease as a living enemy to be fought on a daily basis, questions of racial and gender injustice, and the fragility of the political order,” he said.
“These are 13 books — challenging, stimulating, surprising, nourishing — that we recommend for close and enjoyable reading,” he added.
The leading literary award in the English-speaking world, which is open to works by writers of any nationality written in English and published in the UK or Ireland. The 2022 judging panel also includes academic and broadcaster Shahidha Bari; historian Helen Castor; novelist and critic M. John Harrison; and novelist, poet and professor Alain Mabanckou.
“The 2022 Booker judges come from very different corners of the reading world, yet from the moment they met they have revelled in each other’s opinions and delighted in each other’s company,” said Gaby Wood, Director of the Booker Prize Foundation.
“The result is a set of books that are sometimes serious but never sombre, whose authors engage you with their wit, even as you absorb their dramatic, painful or provocative subject matter. It’s in this playfulness, of form or tone, that this year’s fiction is at its best,” she said.
The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 6 in London, with all shortlisted authors receiving GBP 2,500 each and a specially bound edition of their book. The Booker Prize winner for 2022, who will receive GBP 50,000, will be announced on October 17 in an award ceremony held at the Roundhouse in London fully in person for the first time since 2019.
The 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction was won by South African novelist Damon Galgut for ‘The Promise’ and in the two weeks later it had sold 1,925 per cent more copies in the UK than it had in the previous two weeks.
The 2022 longlist features five men and eight women, with three of the women debut novelists. It includes the youngest and oldest author ever to be longlisted in 20-year-old Leila Mottley and octogenarian Alan Garner, who will celebrate his 88th birthday on the night of the winner ceremony in October. At 116 pages, Keegan’s ‘Small Things Like These’ is the shortest book recognised in the prize’s history.