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Dear reader,

After months of reading – and re-reading – the Booker Prize 2022 judges are approaching the finishing line. They have chosen their final six. The Booker Prize shortlist for 2022 is: 

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

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

It’s a list that shows great geographical breadth as well as linguistic and conceptual agility. Together, these six novels look at history and at the lives of individuals with wit, courage and rage, allowing us to see the world through many sets of supremely perceptive eyes. 

But it’s important not to lose sight of the exceptionally strong longlist, which the judges struggled to reduce to a shortlist of six. If you haven’t yet read The Colony, Trust, After Sappho, Nightcrawling, Case Study, Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies or Booth, why not try our quiz? It will recommend one of the longlisted books to you based on your reading habits – and perhaps make you laugh a little bit. 

In an interview for thebookerprizes.com, Percival Everett described reading as a ‘subversive act’. ‘There’s a reason that oppressive regimes often resort to burning books,’ he said. ‘There is nothing more challenging to an oppressive government than a populace that can read, and therefore think.’  

Anyone might help themselves to this form of empowerment – yet it needn’t be subversive. It could simply be convivial. That’s what we’ve seen when launching the Booker Prize Book Club Challenge: the hearteningly widespread conversion of the private act of reading into a shared act of community. 

We launched the competition – in collaboration with The Reading Agency – in the hope that book clubs all over the UK would want to discuss the books shortlisted for Booker Prize and share some of the thrill Booker judges experience when reading together.  

Little did we know that people all over the world would want to join in. (We will figure out a way to make that work next year.) Or that the hundreds of book clubs who did apply would have such incredible stories to tell, offering a window not only onto the reading nation but (it was just possible to feel) onto humanity.  

I hugely look forward to hearing more from the six clubs the judges have chosen (you can read about them here), and on behalf of those of us who read all the entries I’d like to thank every single book club for allowing us a glimpse of your lives. Please keep in touch! 

Warmly, 

       
Gaby Wood, Director of The Booker Prize Foundation
 

Six things you need to know

Fabulous fables, recurring characters, real-life inspirations, second novels, international authors and indie publishers – the highlights from this year’s shortlist.

Read more

The Booker Prize 2022 shortlist and longlist
 

A closer look at the six shortlisted novels

Glory

Written by NoViolet Bulawayo

This energetic and exhilarating joyride from NoViolet Bulawayo is the story of an uprising, told by a vivid chorus of animal voices that help us see our human world more clearly.

Read more about this book

The Trees

Written by Percival Everett

A violent history refuses to be buried in Percival Everett’s striking novel, which combines an unnerving murder mystery with a powerful condemnation of racism and police violence.

Read more about this book

Treacle Walker

Written by Alan Garner

This latest fiction from a remarkable and enduring talent brilliantly illuminates an introspective young mind trying to make sense of the world around him.

Read more about this book

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

Written by Shehan Karunatilaka

Shehan Karunatilaka’s rip-roaring epic is a searing, mordantly funny satire set amid the murderous mayhem of a Sri Lanka beset by civil war.

Read more about this book

Small Things Like These

Written by Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan’s tender tale of hope and quiet heroism is both a celebration of compassion and a stern rebuke of the sins committed in the name of religion.

Read more about this book

Oh William!

Written by Elizabeth Strout

Bestselling author Elizabeth Strout returns to her beloved heroine Lucy Barton in a luminous novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any time.

Read more about this book

 

What the judges said

Neil MacGregor, chair of the Booker Prize 2022 judges, said:

‘These six books, we believe, speak powerfully about important things. Set in different places at different times, they are all about events that in some measure happen everywhere, and concern us all. Each written in English, they demonstrate what an abundance of Englishes there are; how many distinct worlds, real and imaginary, exist in that simple-seeming space, the Anglosphere.

‘In every one, the author uses language not only to tell us what happens, but to create a world which we, outsiders, can enter and inhabit — and not merely by using words from local languages or dialects. Most important, all affirm the importance and the power of finding and sharing the truth.’

Read: Why you should read each book on the shortlist, according to our judges

More: Meet the judges

 
Shortlist 2022 authors

Meet the authors

Join us in conversation with the authors of this year’s most remarkable works of fiction, as they reveal the inspiration behind their longlisted and shortlisted work. Discover their writing processes and what the nomination means to them.

More

 
Booker Prize 2022 dates for your diary:    
 
TheBookerPrizes.com
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