By Paridhi Badgotri, Gabriella Sotiriou and Thomas Caldow
The thirteen titles for the Booker Prize 2022 longlist, chosen by judges Alain Mabanckou, M. John Harrison, Helen Castor, Neil MacGregor and Shahidha Bari, were announced in late July. Each title was chosen from a list of 169 novels published in the UK or Ireland between October 2021 and September 2022. For the first time, a majority of the titles are from independent publishers, including Sort of Books and Influx Press. The list also includes both the oldest (Alan Garner, aged eighty-seven) and youngest (Leila Mottley, aged twenty) authors to ever be longlisted. As well as being the youngest, Mottley, along with Maddie Mortimer and Selby Wynn Schwartz, is being recognised for a debut work. Karen Joy Fowler, Graeme Macrae Burnet and NoViolet Bulawayo have featured on previous Booker shortlists prior to this year.
The Colony by Audrey Magee
The Irish novelist Audrey Magee’s second novel The Colony explores the narratives being formed by an Englishman and a Frenchman about a small island near the West Coast of Ireland. In Magee's poetic tale, she deals with the politics of representation of others.
After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz
Selby Wynn Schwartz reimagines the tale of a group of female artists, sapphists and feminists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the poetic and funny saga, Schwartz presents a hope for the future of female liberation and rights through the women of the past.
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Glory explores the atrocities of colonisation through the lens of animals. It delves into the crimes committed by humans against animals – followed by a bloody uprising of liberation by the animals, after which the joyous country of animals turns into a game of power exchanges.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Set in an Irish town in 1985, Small Things Like These elucidates the crimes committed in the name of religion. The protagonist Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, delves into his past where the society was controlled by the hegemonic church.
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Based on true events, Leila Mottley’s Nightcrawling is a heart-breaking story of a teenage girl forced to rely on herself to survive. Mottley sheds light on the injustices of racism, sexism and poverty in this powerful tale of resilience.
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer
Mortimer’s debut examines the relationship between Lia and her mother during her time suffering with breast cancer. Lauded for its non-linear style, the novel brilliantly captures the visceral experiences of different types of bodies through Mortimer’s sharply funny and unusual voice.
Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Case Study focuses on the practice of psychiatry by way of the imagined biography of Collins Braithwaite and his 1960s anti-psychiatry movement. Its engrossing true crime ambience studded with humour is a captivating examination of society’s expectations of mental health.
Treacle Walker by Alan Garner
Garner returns with another of his beloved fables. Through the adventures of Joe and Treacle Walker, Garner asks us to question our understanding of time and our relation to it. The novel meshes together ancient lore and cutting edge quantum physics with aplomb.
The Trees by Percival Everett
Percival Everett’s The Trees – part murder mystery, part unearthing of the United States’ racist history – has capitated this year’s long-list judging panel. Tracing the shameful histories of racism in America, Everett’s work grips and challenges the reader in equal measure.
Trust by Hernan Diaz
Hernan Diaz is no stranger to acclaim. His debut novel In the Distance was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Five years later, Diaz returns with Trust, a novel of competing truths which examines the myth of wealth.
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
With a narrative that moves from Sri Lanka in the midst of civil war to the afterlife and back again, Shehan Karunatilaka’s work is one of epic scale and intimate interactions. The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is undoubtedly a unique entry on this year’s list.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Stroud
Elizabeth Stroud returns with Oh, William!, the third entry in her series of novels following the life of Lucy Barton. With I am Lucy Barton nominated in 2016, this series is a prize favourite. Oh, William! delivers on everything we have come to love about Stroud’s work.
Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
Karen Joy Fowler follows the Booth family from cradle to grave in this wonderful expansive historical fiction novel. Each family member has their own glories and their own demons, but it is the second youngest son John that makes the largest mark on history when he assassinates President Abraham Lincoln.
The 2022 shortlist will be announced at London’s Serpentine Gallery on the 6 September, with the winner revealed on the 17 October at the Roundhouse. You can watch all of these events and more through the Booker Prize’s official YouTube and Facebook pages.