The UK’s Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing: Longlist

In News by Porter Anderson

The Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing honors fiction and nonfiction with a longlist of titles you may not know.

At a Songkran New Year Festival in Bangkok. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Dr PNNCPP

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

‘When Basic Human Rights Protections Are Violated’
There are 13 titles on the longlist released this week by the Christopher G. Moore Foundation, which has operated since 2015 as a charity in the United Kingdom.

The foundation is the eponymous creation of a prolific Canadian writer who has lived in Thailand for at least 25 years and is appreciated by readers of Dashiell Hammett-style noir set in his adopted Asian milieu. This may not be what you’d anticipate in an author whose foundation awards “the values of human rights and literary excellence in fiction and nonfiction,” but that, in fact, is what the Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing honors.

“Each longlisted book” this year “has been chosen because of its ambitious, brave, and original approach to highlighting crucial human rights issues across the world and because of the high quality of its  writing.”

The longlisted titles this year are said by the foundation to cover “a wide range of human rights issues: freedom of thought and speech; refugee education; homelessness and isolation; marginalization and discrimination related to work, race, gender or religion; migrant issues; the Uyghurs of China; the roots of  racism; war; the Black Lives Matter movement; dictatorships and women’s health; and marginalization in  developing countries.”

That’s a broad list, indeed. And one of the refreshing things about it is that it carries titles you won’t have seen on the “big” awards lists in United Kingdom, as awash in book- and publishing-awards programs as it is. The prizes based on authors’ genders, the prizes based on authors’ ages, the prizes based on work from one geographical region or genre or consumer group may not reveal these titles under all those golden stickers in the bookstores. 

Christopher Moore

In a prepared statement, Moore says, “This year around 50 books were submitted  from publishers across the world.

“Our hope is this longlist of books will bring attention to the  conditions and circumstances of the most vulnerable members of the international community. 

“The common thread is the danger of what happens when basic human rights protections are violated”–something we seem to be finding out in life quite a lot these days, and in many of world publishing’s markets menaced by authoritarianism, intolerance, hyper-conservative political efforts, and violence.

This year’s jury comprises chair Bidisha Mamata, a British author and  broadcaster; Avril Benoît, executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans  Frontières; and the Ethiopian writer and human rights activist Befekadu Hailu Techane.

A shortlist is expected December 10 and a winning book is to be named on January 11. The winner of this prize receives £1,000 (US$1,202).

The Moore Prize 2022 Longlist
  • Susie Alegre, Freedom To Think, Atlantic Books, London 
  • Monbiant Dogon with Jenna Krajeski, Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds, Penguin Press,  New York 
  • Janine di Giovanni, The Vanishing, Bloomsbury 
  • Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Right Where We Belong, Harvard University Press
  • Thomas Harding, White Debt, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 
  • Sally Hayden, My Fourth Time, We Drowned, 4th Estate, London 
  • Christina Lamb, The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless, William Collins
  • Denis Mukwege, The Power of Women, Short Books, Octopus Publishing
  • Eyal Press, Dirty Work, Head of Zeus 
  • Gideon Rachman, The Age of the Strongman, Bodley Head 
  • Robert Samuels and Toluse Ologunnipa, His Name Is George Floyd, Penguin Random House
  • Nury Turkel, No Escape, William Collins
  • Barbara F. Walter, How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them, Viking

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 125th awards-related report produced in the 127 publication days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

More from Publishing Perspectives on book and publishing awards is here, more on the United Kingdom’s market is here, and more from Publishing Perspectives on freedom of expression is here.

And 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 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.