The 2022 Booker Prize longlist will be announced on Tuesday 26th July and I have made my annual list of predictions in terms of what I think could be some strong possibilities alongside my own personal preferences, based on a few novels I have read and others I have heard about. As ever, it’s impossible to know which novels have been submitted for consideration but those published in the UK between 1 October 2021 and 30 September 2022 will be eligible. My longlist predictions lists in 2020 and 2021 included the eventual winners in those years: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart and The Promise by Damon Galgut. The question is, can I make it three years in a row…?
Talking of recent winners, Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart could be a strong contender following the Scottish author’s Booker Prize win a couple of years ago. Several authors who have been shortlisted in previous years also have new books out. Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet is definitely one of my preferences and is a cleverly written novel consisting of a fictional biography of a radical psychoanalyst and the “discovered” notebooks of one of his patients. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara is a sprawling epic spanning three centuries in an alternative version of New York.
A place on the longlist for The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell could make up for several previous omissions. Her latest work of historical fiction out at the end of August looks at the life of Lucrezia de Medici in Renaissance Italy. Others novels by those who are long overdue some recognition by the Booker Prize include Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson which will be published in September and is set in the 1920s in London and The Fell by Sarah Moss which is a short but affecting state-of-the-nation novel set during the second lockdown in the Peak District.
Irish novelists often have a strong showing in the Booker Prize longlist. The Colony by Audrey Magee examines the impact of colonialism on a small island off the west coast of Ireland when a French linguist and an English painter come to visit. The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan explores four generations of women in Tipperary and will be out in August.
Among debuts, I have heard lots of good things about The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn which is set between the First and Second World War in Dorset. Likewise, Trespasses by Louise Kennedy is another first novel receiving lots of critical acclaim and is about a couple who have an affair during the Troubles in Belfast in 1975.
Among novelists based in north America, Trust by Hernan Diaz has been described as a literary puzzle, and consists of four books within a book, supposedly about a New York financier but also much more than that. Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen is the first book in a trilogy, and deals with Franzen’s specialist subject of dysfunctional Midwestern families. Fight Night by Miriam Toews has been receiving lots of positive reviews and is about a nine-year-old girl living with her pregnant mother in Canada.
Which books would you like to see on the Booker Prize longlist this year?