Booker Prize 2022: Here are the 6 books in the running for the prestigious literary prize - including the shortest book and oldest author ever shortlisted
Subjects of the varied novels to have made the cut include the Sri Lankan civil war, the fall of Robert Mugabe, Ireland’s Magdalene laundries scandal and the murder of Emmett Till in the USA.
The Booker Prize judges have now narrowed the longlist of 13 books down to just six – and there’s no place on the list for Kilmarnock-born Graeme Macrae Burnet's latest book Case Study which had been in contention.
Those that are still in the running include Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These coming in at just 116 pages. That’s 16 less than the previous shortest shortlisted book, Penelope Fitzgerald’s 1979 Booker-winner Offshore.
And with Treacle Worker 87-year-old Alan Garner becomes the oldest author to be shortlisted – he’ll turn 88 on the day the winner is announced.
The prize, initially named after sponsor company Booker, McConnell Ltd, was established in 1969 has become one of the world’s richest literary prizes, with a cash prize of £50,000.
Previous winners have included Iris Murdoch, William Golding, Salman Rushdie, Kingsley Amis, Peter Carey, Pat Barker, Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel, and Hilary Mantel.
Originally it was only open to novels written in English by Commonwealth, Irish, and South African (and later Zimbabwean) authors, but in 2014 was opened up to all English-language fiction books.
This year’s judges are cultural historian and writer Neil MacGregor, academic and broadcaster Shahidha Bari, historian Helen Castor, author and critic M John Harrison, and novelist and poet Alain Mabanckou.
The winner will be unveiled on Monday, October 17.
Here are the six shortlisted books.
Glory 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.
A long time ago, in a bountiful land not so far away, the animals lived quite happily. Then the colonisers arrived. After nearly a hundred years, a bloody War of Liberation brought new hope for the animals - along with a new leader: a charismatic horse who commanded the sun and ruled and ruled - and kept on ruling…
Glory tells the story of a country trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it.
Treacle Walker 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.
Joe Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. He reads his comics, collects birds’ eggs and treasures his marbles, particularly his prized dobbers. When Treacle Walker appears off the moor one day - a wanderer, a healer - an unlikely friendship is forged and the young boy is introduced to a world he could never have imagined.
In this playful, moving and evocative fable, set once again in his beloved Cheshire, the masterly Alan Garner delivers both a stunning fusion of myth and folklore and a profound exploration of the fluidity of time.
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida 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.
Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet queen, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long.
But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.
Small Things Like These 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.
It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him - and encounters the complicit silences of a small community controlled by the Church.
The Trees 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.
Something strange is afoot in Money, Mississippi. A series of brutal murders are eerily linked by the presence at each crime scene of a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till, a young black boy lynched in the same town 65 years before.
The investigating detectives soon discover that uncannily similar murders are taking place all over the country. As the bodies pile up, the detectives seek answers from a local root doctor, who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years…
Oh William! 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.
Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again/off-again friend and confidante.
Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters, the painful dissolution of their marriage, and the lives they built with other people, Strout weaves a portrait, stunning in its subtlety, of a tender, complex, decades-long partnership.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.