• Isabelle Osborne

Celebrating Authors: The Latest Literary Prizes

From the Nobel Prize for Literature to the Pulitzer Prize, dozens of literary awards are awarded annually to the authors and illustrators who create miraculous works of literature. This month, the literary world has watched eagerly as nominees for three awards have been announced.

The Booker Prize 2022

The Booker Prize is an annual literary award that celebrates the best original novel written in the English language. One of the most revered prizes in the literary world, the prize was first awarded in 1969. The Prize is open to writers of any nationality whose novel has been published in the United Kingdom or Ireland, and the winner receives a £50,000 cash prize.

Past winners include Bernadine Evaristo for her exceptional novel Girl, Woman, Other, Hilary Mantel for the first two novels in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, Salman Rushdie for Midnight's Children and, most recently, Damon Galgut with The Promise.

Earlier today, the 2022 longlist was announced:

The Colony, Audrey Magee

After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schawartz

Glory, NoViolet Bulawayo

Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan

Nightcrawling, Leila Mottley

Maps of our Spectacular Bodies, Maddie Mortimer

Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet

Treacle Walker, Alan Garner

The Trees, Percival Everett

Trust, Hernan Diaz

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka

Oh William!, Elizabeth Strout

Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

Mottley is the youngest author to be long listed, at just 20 years old, whilst Garner is the eldest at 87 years old. Mottley joins Mortimer and Schawartz in the pool of debut authors featured on this year's longest, whilst Burnet, Fowler, Bulawayo and Strout return to the Booker hall of fame, having appeared on a list before.

The shortlist for this year's Booker will be announced on 6th September, with the winner crowned on 17th October.

The Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize

Waterstones has launched a unique new prize, which is 'a celebration of emerging talent in fiction of all forms, set up to champion new voices'. The shortlisted and winning books will be voted for by Waterstones booksellers.

Bea Carvalho, Waterstones' Head of Fiction, said 'We are hugely pleased to build on this with a new platform to celebrate our favourite new voices. [...] We can’t wait to see which books our booksellers choose for our inaugural shortlist.’

On Thursday 21 July, the shortlist was announced, whilst the winner will be rewarded with the inaugural accolade on Thursday 25 August 2022.

The shortlist is as follows:

  • Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus

  • The Rabbit Hutch, Tess Gunty

  • Tresspassers, Louise Kennedy

  • How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu

  • Vagbonds!, Eloghosa Osunde

  • Memphis, Tara M. Stringfellow

Each of these books sound phenomenal, but I am especially interested to read Kennedy's Tresspassers. Recently I've been searching for a book that takes place and is informed by the troubles in Ireland, as it is a period of history that I have had little exposure to and would like to know more about.

Overall, this prize is special both in its aim of highlighting and lifting up of debut authors, and in its nature of including Waterstones' booksellers in the shortlisting process.

The Creative Future Writers' Award

Creative Future is an organisation that aims to empower the country's artistic talent who are underrepresented in the arts, and increase diversity and representation in the industry.

Since 2013, their Writers' Award has honoured the work and amplified to the voices of underrepresented writers 'who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance', celebrating their short fiction and poetry. Inclusivity and empowerment is the beating heart of this award. This year alone, more than half of entrants have mental health issues, 45% are from a working class background, and 1/3 of entrants had never entered a writing competition before.

The winning submissions are published in an anthology, and their creators have the opportunity to showcase their work at the London Literary Festival in October, as well as earning access to professional writing development opportunities and a financial prize.

The theme for this year's Award is 'How It Started', and the entrants' work has been judged by novelist Dorothy Koomson, Joelle Taylor, Aki Schilz and Sarala Estruch. With nearly 1400 writers' work to choose from, the judges formed their shortlist, which was announced on Thursday last week. Shortlisted works have explored a wide range of themes, including sexuality, language and migration, and the 1980s miners’ strike.