Women’s Prize 2022 Predictions

I can’t believe it’s already this time of year, but the Women’s Prize longlist announcement is just around the corner! I’m scheduling this post to publish the same day as Anna & Eric’s prediction video, both to join in the excitement and to resist the temptation to borrow from Anna’s list more than I already have in the weeks we’ve spent talking about this (I only stole one from her, to be fair).

I will be updating my Women’s Prize Complete Longlist history post here and its corresponding Google Doc here as soon as the list drops, so you can look forward to that, if that is the sort of thing you look forward to.

So, without further ado, my 16 predictions for the longlist (chaotic mix of UK and US covers as always):

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? Yes! I’ve heard so many good things about this book and it seems very up my alley.

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chen

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? No, no, no. Nothing about this appeals to me, from the premise to what I’ve seen of the writing style. I’ll probably pass if it’s longlisted.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? I think so. This one didn’t totally land for me for a couple of reasons, but I had fun reading it and I think its depiction of workplace microaggressions was phenomenal and deserves to be recognized.

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

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? I’ll definitely pass if it’s longlisted. I’ve heard this is fantastic, so I won’t be mad to see it on the list, but it’s over 800 pages and the premise isn’t doing much for me so I just don’t see myself reading this.

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? (This is the one I stole from Anna.) Anyway, I’m on the fence—this seems like it could be good but it might also be a bit ‘book of the month’ for my tastes, so I’ll wait and see what other people think first.

Matrix by Lauren Groff

Has the author been longlisted before? No (!!)

Would I be happy to see it? I think I’ll feel pretty neutral about it. I think it’s very likely—Groff is, obviously, a tremendously well-known writer and it feels like it’s time to see her recognized by this prize, especially for a book that feels more Women’s Prize-y than anything she’s done before—so I’m prepared for it, but I was a bit underwhelmed by this book and I’m not a huge Groff fan so I won’t exactly be jumping for joy.

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall

Has the author been longlisted before? Yes.

Would I be happy to see it? Sure? I haven’t felt very compelled to pick this up, but at the same time it does seem like the sort of thing I could enjoy. I’ve also never read any Sarah Hall which feels like something I need to rectify.

Devotion by Hannah Kent

Has the author been longlisted before? Yes.

Would I be happy to see it? I was a huge Burial Rites fan so definitely, I’d love to read this.

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? Yes! I started hearing amazing things about this when it was nominated for the National Book Award, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it and would love the excuse to pick it up.

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? Yes! I really enjoyed McConaghy’s debut, Migrations; I thought it was a bit messy but mostly successful for me, and I’d love to read her followup novel at some point soon.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Has the author been longlisted before? Yes.

Would I be happy to see it? As your resident Sally Rooney stan, yes, of course. That said, I will be equally fine with seeing it snubbed. This book has gotten a truly absurd amount of exposure and I’d be happy for something lesser-known, especially by a lesser-known Irish author, to take its place. (Let the record show that I am specifically predicting that BWWAY will be longlisted but not shortlisted, for that reason. I think the judges will include it as a nod to its cultural significance, but ultimately want to award the prize to a book that they can leave more of a mark on.)

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

Has the author been longlisted before? Yes (not since 1997!!)

Would I be happy to see it? Kind of neutral. I’ll probably give it a chance if it’s longlisted but for some reason it hasn’t been screaming my name. Actually, I see it is commonly shelved on Goodreads as ‘magical realism,’ so, that is probably the reason.

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? Eh… meh. I thought this was an adequate, by-the-book, Circe-esque Greek mythology retelling. I enjoyed it well enough but I didn’t think it did anything particularly groundbreaking, and for it to be lauded as one of the 16 best books by women of the past year would honestly feel a bit silly to me, but I won’t be mad as long as it’s not shortlisted.

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? Absolutely! This didn’t fully work for me but it came damn close. It’s a sprawling, ambitious book that I found mostly successful in its aims.

The Performance by Claire Thomas

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? Yes! I haven’t read this but I think I could love it.

Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder

Has the author been longlisted before? No.

Would I be happy to see it? No. This really underwhelmed me. But I will not be surprised at all to see it longlisted; the Women’s Prize loves motherhood, especially in recent years it seems.


To address the elephant in the room: no, I don’t see To Paradise being longlisted. It feels too divisive, too controversial, too literary, too ambitious, too weird for this sort of prize. And I am aware that my list is very debut and first-time longlister heavy; there are a lot of other notable heavy hitters I’m leaving off (Erdritch, Strout, Riley, Barker, Toews, Shafak…) I don’t know why, it just feels like it’s going to be a mostly new, young writers year with a couple of exceptions. But we shall see!

What are you hoping and expecting to see on the list? Comment and let me know!

25 thoughts on “Women’s Prize 2022 Predictions

  1. Great list! (this will sound like I am praising myself, once I manage to finally post my predictions)
    I love love love this time of the year and even though there is no way in hell I’ll manage to even read the majority of the longlist, I am always tempted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ooo very interesting! the only ones ive read from your list are Devotion, BWWAY, and This One Sky Day and i would honestly love for any of them to be included in the long/shortlist 👀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh that’s great news! I’m so excited to read Devotion, and I’m still on the fence about This One Sky Day but I’ll definitely give it a try if it’s there!

      Like

  3. We do have a lot of crossover (though not as much as I do with Anna’s list)! Our Wives Under The Sea is now the one book I really want to see on the list, it’s fantastic. I’m afraid I really really did not get on with either Once There Were Wolves or Devotion. Olga Dies Dreaming is flawed but very interesting, I thought. I don’t think Burntcoat will make it but it would be a deserving pick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve only read Ariadne by Jennifer Saint and while I known it’s popular, I hope it doesn’t make the list. Not because I don’t like retelling, more because I don’t think it did anything interesting, it’s the exact same story, just a different perspective and I want more than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I totally know what you mean. I can’t tell if the WP is getting more and more commercial or if I’m getting more and more snobby, but honestly Ariadne is the sort of book I’ve come to expect seeing longlisted, which is why I don’t think it will bother me too much. If it’s shortlisted or if it wins, god forbid, I will be singing a very different tune.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read any of these though I do have opinions on some of these authors. There are a few that appeal to me and I’d like to read so I’ll be following along to see who ends up on the list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmm I wonder if To Paradise will get on the Booker longlist. Reading this made me aware of how out of the loop I am, lots I haven’t heard of, or heard of the author and didn’t know they had a new one. I’d say My Phantoms better be on here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My Phantoms just narrowly missed my predictions list, I haven’t read it but it feels a little too literary for what the WP has been lately? But I could be way off.

      Oh god, GREAT q about Yanagihara and the Booker…

      Like

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