Awards: The UK’s Rathbones Folio Prize 2022 Shortlist

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The 2022 Rathbones Folio Prize names eight works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to its shortlist, a winner expected March 23.

Image: Rathbones Folio Prize

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Hadley: ‘Seized Us From the First Page’
Today’s (February 15) award story from England features the 2022 shortlist released by the Rathbones Folio Prize.

To help you recall which award program this is:

  • Previously known as the Literature Prize and the Folio Prize, the award is today sponsored by Rathbone Brothers Plc
  • Like Waterstones, the prize’s name is written without an apostrophe, Rathbones
  • Its visibility on the awards scene was interrupted by a one-year hiatus in 2016
  • This award carries a handsome purse of £30,000 award (US$40,634)
  • The Rathbones Folio Prize has a fine internationalist stance, in that it can be won by writers anywhere in the world working in English
  • The program also has range in format: the honor can go to authors of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry

Of the eight shortlisted authors here, seven are based in the United Kingdom and/or Ireland. The eighth, whose work you may know because of his Booker Prize for Fiction win on November 3, is the South African novelist Damon Galgut.

This year, half the list is published by imprints and divisions of Penguin Random House. Three are from independent publishers (Faber & Faber, Bloodaxe, and Granta), and one is from HarperCollins.

Jurors this year are the authors Tessa Hadley, Rachel Long, and William Atkins.

The winner is to be announced on March 23 in an event at the British Library.

Rathbones Folio Prize 2022 Shortlist

Tessa Hadley

In a statement for the jury, Hadley, serving as the panel’s chair, is quoted, saying, “Our eight books were chosen from a fairly dazzling longlist of 20. The books under consideration are all nominated by writers, and so the quality of the work is very high. So many good books, prose fiction and poetry and nonfiction—so difficult to weigh one against another.

“We all brought certain passions to the table when we met. There were just a few books that had seized us from the first page and hadn’t let us down until the last, and then seemed even richer and larger on a second reading.”

The jurying process for the Rathbones Folio Prize draws on a pool of some 300 “academy members,” some of whom participate in nomination, jurying, and mentoring programming for secondary school students in low-income communities.

In 2021, writer Carmen Maria Machado was the Rathbones Folio winner for In the Dream House. Published by Greywolf Press in November 2019 in the United States—Machado is an American author—the book was released in the United Kingdom in January 2020 by Serpent’s Tail.

Prior to that, winners of the honor have been:

  • 2020: Valeria Luiselli Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
  • 2019: Raymond Antrobus
  • 2018; Richard Lloyd Parry
  • 2017: Hisham Matar
  • 2015: Akhil Sharma
  • 2014: George Saunders

More from us on the Rathbones Folio Prize is here, more on publishing and book awards in international markets is here, and more on the UK market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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