And the Winner is... 2022 Prizes Wrap-up
By Anna-Maria Poku, Brodie McKenzie, Grace Briggs-Jones and Clara Garnier-Barsanti
With January drawing to a close, we are still eagerly awaiting the publication of this year’s first longlists. Whilst we wait for these to be announced, let’s take a look back at some of the literary winners from 2022.
Having both supported best-=selling authors and championed trailblazing diverse voices, the Costa Book Award announced that the 2021 prize, announced in February 2022, would be its final awards after fifty years – so who was the winner of this final accolade? The Booker Prize was established in 1969 and has come to be a trusted kitemark of quality fiction – with the winner receiving £50,000, who was the lucky author in 2022?
Not many prizes judge a children’s book next to a collection of poetry in order to celebrate the Book of the Year, however, Costa Book Awards was that exception. Its unique approach kept followers on the edge of their seats, hungry to know which, out of the five category winners (Debut, Novel, Biography, Poetry, and Children’s Book), would go home with the Book of the Year Award. Despite its strange functioning, Costa was successful in bringing a wide range of genres into the public eye, that are usually more niche: year after year, readers could trust the Costa Award and explore books they would not instinctively try.
Last year's winner of the Costa Book Award was The Kids by Hannah Lowe. Winner of both the poetry category and the Book Award, Lowe’s third poetry collection was inspired by her experience as a teacher in London and her youth during the riotous 80s and 90s, as well as her son’s navigation of the contemporary capital. The Kids has been acclaimed by critics as an insightful set of poems which reckon with the immeasurable impact of learning and the fragility of coming of age.
It seems as though The Booker Prize is trying to cheer readers up, as they wait in the January gloom for the first prize announcements. Despite having been unveiled for the first time in 1969, The Booker Prize’s statuette is still nameless! Readers have been given the opportunity to compete to name the golden trophy. Created by Jan Pieńkowski, the statuette is in the form of a woman that “stands tall and elegant, wearing a pleated sleeveless gown. Her head is turned, her hair set in a tight bob. Her arms stretch above her, holding a large bowl." With entry to the competition closing on the 27 January, it is a challenge for your instinctive creativity – who knows, you might be the lucky person entering the history of the Booker Prize, and winning a Montegrappa fountain pen to write your next wonderful ideas!
Celebrating fiction written by women, the Women’s Prize for fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award. With the 2023 longlist being announced on 7 March, let’s take a look back at the 2022 award. Spearheaded by Chair of Judges, Mary Ann Sieghart, the judges for last year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction included Lorraine Candy, award-winning journalist and editor; Dorothy Koomson, global bestselling novelist, journalist and podcaster; Anita Sethi, award winning author and literary journalist; and Pandora Sykes, journalist, broadcaster and author. The books longlisted and shortlisted should be must haves on your reading list! From the longlist, we saw breakout books such as Dawnie Walton’s The Final Revival of Opal & Nev and Charlotte Mendelson’s The Exhibitionist. Making it onto the shortlist were acclaimed novels such as Eli Shafak’s The Island of Missing Trees, Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Bliss and Lisa Allen-Agostini’s The Bread The Devil Knead.
However, coming out on top as the recipient of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction was Ruth Ozeki with her fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness. Highlighted by Chair of Judges Mary Ann Sieghart as a book featuring "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy," the book explores themes such as grief, jazz, climate change, neurodiversity and our attachment to material possessions. Ruth was presented with the £30,000 prize, endowed by an anonymous donor and the "Bessie," a limited-edition bronze figurine by Grizel Niven, at an awards ceremony in Bedford Square Gardens in London.
Last year saw a host of excellent books being celebrated and rewarded with some of the literary world’s most coveted prizes. With the bar set high by last year’s longlisted works, it is an exciting wait to see which books will be recognised this year! Longlists will begin to be released in March, so we don’t have too long to wait!