The Booker Prize for Fiction 2022 shortlist has been announced, featuring its oldest author, Alan Garner, at 87-years-old, and its shortest book, Small Things Like These, at 116 pages. The six shortlisted books are Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo; The Trees by Percival Everett; Treacle Walker by Alan Garner; The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka; Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan; and Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout.
Honoured by one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, the shortlisted authors will receive £2,500 each and a specially bound edition of their books. The winner will be announced on October 17 and receive £50,000.
Historian Neil MacGregor, who chaired the panel of judges this year, said at the ceremony, “All these authors have used language not just to tell us what happened [in their stories] but to create a world, an imagined universe that we as outsiders can enter, inhabit and feel as our own. In that imagined world, something momentous happens, to an individual or a society. They realise who they are and what they can become. All these books affirm the importance of finding and sharing the truth.”
Alongside MacGregor, the awards are judged by academic Shahidha Bari, historian Helen Castor, critic M John Harrison and writer Alain Mabanckou. They read 169 submissions.
Leila Mottley (20), who made it to the Booker longlist as its youngest writer ever for her debut novel Nightcrawling, could not make it to the shortlist. The longlist also featured two other debuts: After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz, and Maps of our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer.
On the significance of the award, MacGregor said, “The Booker Prize is to take a moment to pause and marvel at what the English language can do, at what you can do with words. There is a concern that English has become the dominant language of the world. But if there’s anything we have discovered in our judging, it’s that there are so many Englishes. The tyranny of the language has been overcome by all the different Englishes of the world, used by writers to explore what’s happening to them and the world around them.”
The Booker is awarded annually to a work of fiction published in English in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and The International Booker Prize — recently won by Geetanjali Shree for Tomb of Sand — is for a work of translation published in the same territories.