The 2022 longlist of nominees for the Booker Prize was released today, and the 13 nominees were a diverse array of both authors and stories. The prize, awarded each year to honor an English-language novel published in the UK and Ireland, gives the winner international acclaim and publicity and is considered one of the highest honors in literature. This year’s nominees made history in one particular way: the list included both the youngest and the oldest authors ever up for the prize. Read on for the details about these authors and all the other nominees!
History of the Booker Prize
The Booker Prize, previously called the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize, started in 1969 and was sponsored by the company Booker, McConnell Ltd. Since 2002, the prize has been distributed by the Booker Prize Foundation, with Man Group sponsoring, and was called the Man Booker Prize until 2019.
In the beginning, the prize was only available to British Commonwealth citizens, but starting in 2013, the Prize started to consider any novel written in English. This was controversial but has ultimately led to a much wider pool of novels to be nominated. Since then, three winners have been from the US or Canada. So with all that in mind, who are the nominees this year?
The nominated authors this year wrote works that spanned several genres. Chair of judges Neil MacGregor described the stories as “exceptionally well written and carefully crafted” and range from “story, parable and fable, fantasy, mystery, meditation and thriller.”
The nominated authors also come from all over the world; the list includes Alan Garner and Maddie Mortimer from England, Graeme Macrae Burnet from Scotland, Percival Everett, Karen Joy Fowler, Selby Wynn Schwartz, Elizabeth Strout, Hernan Diaz, and Leila Mottley from the United States, Claire Keegan and Audrey Magee from Ireland, NoViolet Bulawayo from Zimbabwe, and Shahan Karunatilaka from Sri Lanka. Four of the authors have been nominated before, while three are nominated for their debut novels.
Youngest and Oldest in History
Two standouts on the list of nominees are Mottley and Garner, notable for opposite reasons. Leila Mottley is just 20 years old, the youngest ever to be up for the prize. Before her, the record was held by Jon McGregor for his 2002 debut, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. Mottley’s nominated novel, Nightcrawling, is a thriller based on a true story about corruption and police brutality that she wrote when she was only 17.
Alan Garner, on the other hand, is 87 and will turn 88 on the day of the awards ceremony, making him the oldest ever nominee. Garner’s novel, Treacle Walker, tells a story of friendship between a young boy and a wandering healer and is far from his first novel. The Owl Service, Garner’s award-winning novel from 1967, makes him one of the most well-known authors on the list.
The Booker Prize has already chosen the longlist of these 13 books from 169 submissions, and a shortlist of six will be announced on September 6th. Then, the winner will be presented with the prize on October 17th. In addition to the prestigious recognition, the winner will receive £50,000. So there’s still plenty to look forward to and a long way to go for these nominees. Congratulations to everyone nominated!
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