Awards: The UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Jury Names Its 2022 Longlist

In News by Porter Anderson

On International Women’s Day, the Women’s Prize for Fiction names 16 novels to its £30,000 longlist.

Image: Women’s Prize for Fiction

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

See also: International Women’s Day: ‘The Female Publisher’

Sponsors This Year: Baileys and Audible
Calling itself “the greatest international celebration of women’s creativity,” the United Kingdom’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has announced its 2022 longlist today (March 8), International Women’s Day.

Carrying a £30,000 purse (US$39,365), the 27-year-old award has two sponsors this year. One is the faithful Diageo product Baileys, which has sponsored the program since 2014 and once had its name on the prize. The other is Audible, which is, an Amazon company.

The winner of the award also receives a limited edition bronze statuette known as the ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

The 16-title longlist includes quite a bit of work from North America, with six Americans and one American-Canadian, along with five British authors, two New Zealanders, one Turkish-British writer, and one Trinidadian. Louise Erdrich is longlisted for The Sentence, having won the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize and the Pulitzer for her The Night Watchman.

Five of the writers on the list have been longlisted for the award before: Leone Ross (All the Blood Is Red, 1997); Catherine Chidgey (In a Fishbone Church, 1999); Elif Shafak (The Bastard of Istanbul, 2008, and Honor, 2013); Charlotte Mendelson (Almost English, 2014); and Rachel Elliott (Whispers Through a Megaphone, 2016). Mendelson was shortlisted in 2008 for When We Were Bad.

Five titles on the list are the debut publications of their authors: Careless, The Paper Palace, Build Your House Around My Body, The Bread the Devil Knead, and The Final Revival of Opal and Nev.

Fiction written in English by women anywhere in the world but published in the United Kingdom is eligible for this year’s award, as long as a given title is published between April 1 of last year and the 31st of this month.

A shortlist of six titles is anticipated for an announcement on April 27. The winner is to be named on June 15.

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 Longlist
Author Title Imprint Nationality
Lisa Allen-Agostini The Bread the Devil Knead Myriad Editions Trinidad
Lulu Allison Salt Lick Unbound Digital United Kingdom
Kirsty Capes Careless Orion Fiction United Kingdom
Catherine Chidgey Remote Sympathy Europa Editions New Zealand
Miranda Cowley Heller The Paper Palace Viking United States
Rachel Elliott Flamingo Tinder Press United Kingdom
Louise Erdrich The Sentence Corsair United States
Violet Kupersmith Build Your House Around My Body Oneworld United States
Meg Mason Sorrow and Bliss Weidenfeld & Nicolson New Zealand
Charlotte Mendelson The Exhibitionist Mantle United Kingdom
Ruth Ozeki The Book of Form and Emptiness Canongate Books United States/Canada
Leone Ross This One Sky Day Faber & Faber United Kingdom
Elif Shafak The Island of Missing Trees Viking Turkey/United Kingdom
Maggie Shipstead Great Circle Penguin Random House/Doubleday United States
Dawnie Walton The Final Revival of Opal and Nev Quercus United States
Morowa Yejidé Creatures of Passage Jacaranda United States
Sieghart: ‘A Marathon Task’

In a prepared statement for today’s announcement, Mary Ann Sieghart, the jury chair this year, is quoted, saying, “Choosing just 16 novels from 175 submissions was a marathon task.

“After a lively and passionate discussion, my fellow judges were delighted to find that our 16 favorite novels were incredibly diverse … covering different genres, and from publishers large and small.

“We are confident that this wonderful, eclectic and inspiring longlist will offer something to entrance every reader, both male and female.”

Also on the jury:

  • Lorraine Candy, journalist and editor
  • Dorothy Koomson, novelist, journalist, and podcaster
  • Anita Sethi, author and literary journalist
  • Pandora Sykes, journalist, broadcaster, and author

From left, jurors for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction are Anita Sethi, Pandora Sykes, Mary Ann Sieghart, Dorothy Koomson, and Lorraine Candy. Image: Women’s Prize for Fiction

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 44th awards report published in the 46 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

More from Publishing Perspectives on international book and publishing awards programs is here. More from us on the Women’s Prize for Fiction is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s awards-heavy book and publishing market is here.

More 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 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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.