Women’s Prize 2022 Longlist Reaction

Well, the longlist has been announced, and I am underwhelmed. But before we get into that, here it is:

Some stats to start off with—as always, let me know if you spot any errors:

UK: 4
US: 6
New Zealand: 1
New Zealand/Australia: 1
US/Canada: 1
Trinidad: 1
Turkey: 1
Jamaica/UK: 1

White authors: 8
Authors of color: 8

5 debuts

I got 2 predictions correct: Great Circle and This One Sky Day.

I’ve only read one book: Great Circle, 4 stars.

Here’s where I usually go through the books one at a time and give you a reaction per title, but honestly I can’t be bothered, because half of these books I’d never even heard of until today, and the ones I had heard of, I hadn’t been particularly interested in reading. After reading through all of these summaries, nothing really leaps out at me either. So, here’s what I’m thinking…

Will prioritize: Build Your House Around My Body, Salt Lick because I got roped into a group read, Sorrow and Bliss, Creatures of Passage

Maybe: Remote Sympathy, The Book of Form and Emptiness, The Bread the Devil Knead, The Exhibitionist, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, The Island of Missing Trees, The Paper Palace, This One Sky Day

Probably not: Flamingo, Careless, The Sentence

This list just feels bland and commercial and uninspiring to me, on the whole. That said, it’s much more diverse than last year’s list, so that’s the good news. And who knows, maybe there will be a couple of hidden gems in here.

How do you guys feel about this year’s longlist?


16 thoughts on “Women’s Prize 2022 Longlist Reaction

  1. At first glance I like this better than the last couple of lists, though I’m dismayed that I really didn’t like the only two books I’ve read from it (Great Circle and The Book of Form and Emptiness). I actually feel like there’s a reasonable mix of proper literary, commercial and the kind of literary-commercial that the Prize usually goes for, so it doesn’t stand out to me for that reason. But I am suspicious that nobody seems to have heard of so many of the books. My reaction up tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Upon further reflection I think a huge part of my problem with this list is that of the 15 I haven’t read, 0 of them were on my TBR, making it especially difficult to muster any enthusiasm. I thought last year’s list was pretty awful on the whole, but at least when it was announced I had already been planning on reading Piranesi and a couple of others so that gave me a push to do so. Even if there are hidden gems on this list, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to find them given my apathy!!

      Looking forward to your post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This entire list has a vibe of “yes girl give us nothing!!!!”

    I’m genuinely happy that the diversity of the titles has improved so much compared to last year’s but also it seems (not only from the titles themselves, but from the speech of the judges) that they were so much more focused on checklisting diversity points than providing an honestly good list with literary gems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES GIRL GIVE US NOTHING! Literally!

      Ugh, I hadn’t watched the judges’ speeches yet but I find that disappointing and unsurprising in equal measure. What’s so annoying is that they seem to have plucked a bunch of these random books out of relative obscurity and in doing so, overlooked a lot of strong contenders that also would have filled the diversity quota: WEB DuBois, Olga Dies Dreaming, Intimacies, Fault Lines, etc! And I’m all for shining a light on smaller, under the radar books, I just… remain skeptical that they’ve actually curated a list of the 16 best books by women of the last year lol.


  3. I am decidedly underwhelmed. I’ve read one – Build Your House Around My Body – which I enjoyed well enough but would never have pegged for the longlist. There are at least 6 here that I’ve never heard of either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s SO underwhelming. Build Your House is one of the few I’ll definitely be reading so I hope I like that, at least. But I just cannot muster any enthusiasm to tackle this whole list.


  4. I’m happy enough with this list, even though I predicted very few correctly. Mostly I’m relieved that there aren’t any particularly horrible sounding ones, or 600+ pagers that I’ll feel compelled to read (I DNFed Great Circle last year and I’m not revisiting that decision, LOL!). I reckon you’ll have some good surprises on your priority and maybe lists. A slightly weird preponderance of magic realism this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahah maybe the magical realism is why I had such a strong negative reaction to this list, that’s something I almost never get on with.

      That’s funny that you and Laura both don’t mind this list; everyone else I’ve talked to feels very underwhelmed! I will be looking forward to both of your reviews to guide me in figuring out what’s worth picking up. Very true that there are no behemoths though aside from Great Circle, that’s one good thing.


      • Well, the Ozeki is long enough at 546 pages. I read 200 pages of it last year and set it aside because it was so twee, but I’m dutifully going back to it now.


  5. I actually quite like that no one seems to have heard of so many of these books. I much prefer being introduced to new books by the Women’s Prize than when they go for overly obvious choices that have already received a ton of hype. That being said, I obviously haven’t read the longlist yet and I might be entirely underwhelmed by most of the books. I am really hoping for lots of hidden gems, though. There are always a few longlisted books that I wind up vehemently disagreeing with, but the Women’s Prize also always manages to introduce me to at least one amazing book every year so I’m open to reading most of their picks in the hopes of being pleasantly surprised.

    If I wind up hating the longlist after I’ve read it, I suppose that I’ll at least enjoy terrorizing everyone in my life with my disappointment lol.


  6. “bland and commercial and uninspiring” sums it up better than i ever could lol. i looked through the longlist yesterday, was like “ok 🤷‍♀️” and then immediately forgot about it. i feel like every im excited for the WP longlist and every year im disappointed


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