So it feels like I JUST reacted to the winner of the 2021 prize (Piranesi by Susanna Clarke! Fantastic choice) but here we are again, trying to guess this year’s longlist! Looking forward to failing catastrophically at predicting anything yet again!
[The list below has been edited to include more lists as I find them]
A couple lists are already out – check out:
- Rachel’s Women’s Prize 2022 Predictions
- Eric’s Women’s Prize 2022 Longlist Predictions with Anna
- Laura’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022: Longlist Predictions and Wishlist
- Bookish Beck’s Women’s Prize 2022: Longlist Wishes vs. Predictions
- Ellen’s 2022 Women’s Prize Predictions, Wishlist, and What I’d Rather Not See
I’ve been debating whether This One Sky Day by Leone Ross will be longlisted, but it checks so many boxes that I think it has a pretty good chance: it’s a magical realism story with whimsical storytelling, and it revolves around family, friendship, gender politics and so many more themes that tend to catch the eye of WP judges.
It comes as no surprise that I, too, am adding Matrix by Lauren Groff to my prediction list. This just sounds like the kind of novel that screams “Women’s Prize”: a fresh, feminist look into a historical time, religion and with a character that feels like the reader could easily identify with, even though she’s a nun in the 12th century (and the reader, presumably, isn’t). It wasn’t my cup of tea but I can see the merit of this novel and won’t be (too) mad at all if it makes it to the longlist!
I haven’t read Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González but from the synopsis I’d say it has a pretty good chance! It’s about two siblings whose shiny, picture-perfect lives are about to change as their mother comes to stay with them during hurricane season . This is the kind of novel I can absolutely see on the longlist: it has family secrets, angst, feels very timely and is rich in Latinx culture (more specifically Puerto Rican), which I think the prize has been trying to add a bit more of.
Okay so I think the prize is still in love with the Disaster Woman Trope and so I added one book that fits the bill: Fault Lines by Emily Itami has been everywhere and has been on my radar for the longest time – it’s a story about a woman who seems to have it all, but it deeply unhappy with her life and then starts a friendship with a guy, falls in love with life again, but also starts making all kinds of bad choices. Honestly, anything that is described as “darkly funny” is up my alley so I’ll definitely be picking this up.
I loved Vladimir by Julia May Jonas, this provocative, incredible book would shake things up a lot in the WP, and I’m always here for a chaotic choice.
I stole Burntcoat by Sarah Hall from Rachel’s list, mostly because reading the synopsis had me going absolutely wild to read this! It takes place during a (not The, I think) pandemic as the main character is about to die, and it sounds dark and haunting and wonderful.
I haven’t read Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt but once I found out about its existence it immediately started calling my name and it sounds INCREDIBLE, so I suppose there’s a bit of wishful thinking as I add this to my predictions list. I really want to read this queer haunted house story – I love a good horror, and I’m hoping the WP does, too.
Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka is one I’m less sure about than others, but I’m adding it to this listanyway! I think there is an incredible concept here that might get the attention of the judges: a serial killer is about to be executed and we read his story through the eyes of the women in his life. I didn’t think Kukafka’s other novel Girl in Snow was very memorable, but I am SO curious about this one, and I think the retelling of something through women’s eyes is definitely something the WP tends to enjoy.
To be honest I was hesitant to add Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen to this prediction because it might have a few too many similarities to Matrix, but this list is already very heavy on historical fiction, so what’s one more? Besides, after 2019’s list, I believe the proze has no issues adding similar titles. This is set in 17th century Germany and it’s about women being accused of witchcraft, it sounds dark, bleak and so, so good.
Wahala by Nikki May is a bit of a wildcard here, but I heard this is a book about a group of friends being shaken up by a newcomer (which is something I can see appealing to the WP judges) and it touches on colorism, class and more, which makes it very timely! I’ve also heard amazing things about it and I think it would be an exciting title to appear on the list.
The Raptures by Jan Carson is not being talked about enough. It sounds both wonderful (Carson’s devastating writing made me fall in love with The Fire Starters) and so timely (about a mysterious illness), I think this has a good chance of being longlisted. Or at least I hope it does. I get the feeling that this year’s WP will be a lot heavier on titles about the pandemic, and illnesses in general.
Devotion by Hannah Kent is another historical title I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about! This one is set in 19th century Prussia and is centered on two girls becoming friends and (I think) falling in love.
I have yet to read Second Place by Rachel Cusk (which I started in audio but gave up because I think it will be a million times better in paper) but I enjoyed very much what I read and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this. It’s one of those books whose author really put in the work to perfect the writing and I think it just fits so well with the prize.
I was convinced to add Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith to my list after hearing Anna talk about it! This novel spans several decades and follows many characters whose lives are interwoven in some mysterious way. This is described as a “fever dream”, so sign me up!
I just finished Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield and it’s such a beautiful book about grief, love, and the ocean, with hints of magical realism, I think it would be a worthy addition!
Finally, Intimacies by Katie Kitamura! I kept putting this novel on my list, then removing it and finally adding it again – in the end I think it has a lot of themes that tends to appeal to the WP – it’s about relationships, especially complicated romantic relationships, language, violence, power. It sounds SO good and I think it was a good chance of making it!
Who I Don’t Think Will Make It
Okay so I didn’t add To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara to the list, although I was quite convinced for a while that it would be longlisted, but I feel that the judges usually tend to go for shorter reads (unless it’s a Mantel). Frankly, I think they’ll just be too lazy to read it (there, I said it).
I also didn’t add Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney because it felt to me almost a bit too obvious, a bit too commercially successful, if that makes sense. But I would not be surprised (nor upset) if it did make it – it’s a wonderful book!
I also didn’t add The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers frankly for the same reason that To Paradise. Also I don’t want to read it.