Women’s Prize 2022: Longlist Wishes vs. Predictions

Next Tuesday the 8th, the 2022 Women’s Prize longlist will be announced.

First I have a list of 16 novels I want to be longlisted, because I’ve read and loved them (or at least thought they were interesting), or am currently reading and enjoying them, or plan to read them soon, or am desperate to get hold of them.

Wishlist

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (my review)

Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth (my review)

These Days by Lucy Caldwell

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson – currently reading

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González – currently reading

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall (my review)

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny (my review)

Pure Colour by Sheila Heti

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (my review)

Devotion by Hannah Kent – currently reading

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith – currently reading

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain (my review)

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka – review coming to Shiny New Books on Thursday

Brood by Jackie Polzin (my review)

The Performance by Claire Thomas (my review)

 

Then I have a list of 16 novels I think will be longlisted mostly because of the buzz around them, or they’re the kind of thing the Prize always recognizes (like danged GREEK MYTHS), or they’re authors who have been nominated before – previous shortlistees get a free pass when it comes to publisher submissions, you see – or they’re books I might read but haven’t gotten to yet.

Predictions

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Second Place by Rachel Cusk (my review)

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Free Love by Tessa Hadley

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (my review)

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

The Fell by Sarah Moss (my review)

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (my review)

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

Still Life by Sarah Winman

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara – currently reading

*A wildcard entry that could fit on either list: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (my review).*

 


Okay, no more indecision and laziness. Time to combine these two into a master list that reflects my taste but also what the judges of this prize generally seem to be looking for. It’s been a year of BIG books – seven of these are over 400 pages; three of them over 600 pages even – and a lot of historical fiction, but also some super-contemporary stuff. Seven BIPOC authors as well, which would be an improvement over last year’s five and closer to the eight from two years prior. A caveat: I haven’t given thought to publisher quotas here.

 

MY WOMEN’S PRIZE FORECAST

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González

Matrix by Lauren Groff

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Devotion by Hannah Kent

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith

The Fell by Sarah Moss

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

 

What do you think?

See also Laura’s, Naty’s, and Rachel’s predictions (my final list overlaps with theirs on 10, 5 and 8 titles, respectively) and Susan’s wishes.

 


Just to further overwhelm you, here are the other 62 eligible 2021–22 novels that were on my radar but didn’t make the cut:

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström

Violeta by Isabel Allende

The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews

Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi

The Stars Are Not Yet Bells by Hannah Lillith Assadi

The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Defenestrate by Renee Branum

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Assembly by Natasha Brown

We Were Young by Niamh Campbell

The Raptures by Jan Carson

A Very Nice Girl by Imogen Crimp

Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

Love & Saffron by Kim Fay

Mrs March by Virginia Feito

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Tides by Sara Freeman

I Couldn’t Love You More by Esther Freud

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Listening Still by Anne Griffin

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Three Rooms by Jo Hamya

The Giant Dark by Sarvat Hasin

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Violets by Alex Hyde

Fault Lines by Emily Itami

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Paul by Daisy Lafarge

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

The Truth About Her by Jacqueline Maley

Wahala by Nikki May

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

The Anthill by Julianne Pachico

The Vixen by Francine Prose

The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Cut Out by Michèle Roberts

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber

Cold Sun by Anita Sivakumaran

Hear No Evil by Sarah Smith

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Lily by Rose Tremain

French Braid by Anne Tyler

We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida

I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

31 responses

  1. Great lists, Rebecca! I don’t know how I’ve followed the Women’s Prize for this long and didn’t realise that there was a free pass for previous shortlistees. I knew previously LL/SL authors were more likely to turn up, but assumed this was just an expression of the Prize’s preferences, not built into its structure. I think this is a real shame – must make the bias towards larger/older publishers even worse as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So I think that rule would apply to the Kent, Riley and Yanagihara here (Ali, Moss, Rooney and Shafak were only longlisted). It means the publisher can submit those in addition to their usual quota. If I was really devoted, I would have checked on the publisher for each one of these and made sure none were over-represented! You’re right, it does stack the deck in favour of larger publishers, who can also afford the publicity costs of later stages.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Would dearly love Sorrow & Bliss to be listed, and equally The Performance, which I thought was really clever. And Devotion – beautifully written. Basically, I’d be thrilled if any Aus writer made the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, let’s hope we see an Australian author! I think Devotion is most likely, but I’d be pleased by one of the other two.

      Like

    2. Hurrah for Sorrow and Bliss!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Bookish Beck’s Women’s Prize 2022: Longlist Wishes vs. Predictions […]

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  4. Great post!! I totally agree this year’s list will be most histfic heavy. It would be very cool if Brood made the list, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So hard to know what the judges are looking for, especially when the panel changes every year…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true! I guess they usually don’t go for a lot of histfic, but one never really knows.

        Like

  5. I’d love to see My Phantoms and These Days make the list. Mrs March would be my favourite, as I thought it was an incredible debut. I liked Build Your House Around My Body a lot, look forward to hear what you think,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t make it far with Mrs March last year, but might try it another time. I’m about 1/3 through Build Your House Around My Body and really enjoying it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Call me out for being a poor feminist, but this is a prize I don’t really follow. I would have liked to see Mrs March on one of your two lists, and while I enjoyed Ariadne and like those ‘danged Greeks’ it wasn’t strong enough, whereas the Arthurian tinged Sistersong by Lucy Holland was super.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, I never used to be very invested in this prize, but just in the last few years I’ve gotten more so. I won’t ever bother reading a full longlist or shortlist, just the ones that interest me. Sistersong is a new title for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m posting my wishlist tomorrow – no predictions from me. We overlap on more than I’d expected, both in your wishes and predictions. Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking forward to it! You always pick out a great set.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooh you’re right, we do have a lot in common! I love the look of your official prediction list, I’d be happy with that combination of books I think. (Actually, maybe not the Yanagihara. I do want to read it. Just, only after the discourse has died down.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m crawling my way through To Paradise. I’m 2/3 through just Part One and it’s top writing but I’m not sure the plot payoff will be there, especially considering she’s going to zoom forward to two more time periods. My thinking is that, like with The Mirror and the Light, the judges will feel like they have to acknowledge it by longlisting it, but I definitely don’t expect it to advance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was my exact reasoning with the Rooney!

        I don’t know why, I just have a strong feeling To Paradise won’t be there—nothing I’ve heard about it screams WP to me, and they always strike me as so controversy-averse that I can just see them wanting to sidestep it altogether rather than invite more discourse?! (Fully acknowledging though that you ALWAYS get more predictions correct than I do, and I am expecting to be wrong about this one. But I am standing my ground until it happens!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I only correctly predicted 6 of the longlist last year! (And 4 of 6 on the shortlist the year before.)

        Like

  9. I’d love Black Cake and Brown Girls to make it on, no Greek myths please and I fear The Love Songs will make it and I will have to finish it. I hated the Monica Ali but …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, I’m afraid Greek myths are a shoo-in for the shortlist of this prize! I think we will also see at least a couple of extremely long books make it through, but one never has to feel pressured to read anything…

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  10. Wow, so many books! You do such a good job with these posts that even someone like me who hasn’t read ANY of them is mesmerized by all the pretty books and what you have to say about them. I laughed so hard about “danged Greek Myths”. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only ever tried one Greek myth update, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and couldn’t finish it. For some reason the subject matter is a real turnoff for me.

      One Canadian author on my wishlist! And a couple more in the rest of my post. We shall see what Tuesday brings!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Paul Cranswick | Reply

    A few I am surprised to see no mention of:
    The Fortune Men – Nadifa Mohamed
    The Sentence – Louise Erdrich
    Learwife – JR Thorp
    Tenderness – Alison MacLeod
    How Beautiful We Were – Imbolo Mbue
    We Are All Birds of Uganda – Hafsa Zayyan
    Intimacies – Katie Kitamura
    The School for Good Mothers – Jessamine Chan

    It has been a stellar year for women’s writing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that you mention them, of course I should have thought of those! I felt with ~100 titles I’d gotten to most possibilities, but there will always be some missed out. I’ve not read any of those. Any you’d recommend in particular?

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      1. Paul Cranswick

        I haven’t read all of them but I would recommend Intimacies the most I think from those I have read above. Prose so precise it is almost surgical. The Fortune Men was a Booker shortlisted pick but I was a little bit disappointed with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve read Kitamura’s previous novel. I wasn’t drawn to The Fortune Men from that shortlist.

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    2. Good call with the Erdrich!

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  12. As has been the trend for me, in recent years, I feel quite far behind with the idea of this announcement in March. And as I’m focussing on backlist this year, it seems unlikely that I’ll get far with any notions of longing towards the possibilities and desires you’ve itemized. Looking forward to seeing the longlist though, and to laughing at your unrealised guesses (as mine are always just as far off).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. […] my wishes and predictions, 1 and 2 were correct, so I got 3 right overall, with my wildcard choice being the only nominee […]

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  14. […] so I was delighted to hear that she had written a debut novel, and it was one of my few correct predictions for the Women’s Prize nominees. The main action takes place between when Winnie – half white […]

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