Shortlist 2022

  • Margo Jefferson: Constructing a Nervous System

    This intimate and innovative memoir shows how, from Josephine Baker’s radiant transformations, to Willa Cather’s aesthetics of whiteness, we can find space in cultures that will not make room for us. Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and the author of the celebrated memoir Negroland.
    She lives in the USA.

  • Graeme Macrae Burnet: Case Study

    A twisting and often wickedly humorous work of crime fiction that meditates on the nature of
    sanity, identity and truth itself. Graeme Macrae Burnet is the author of four novels, including the Booker Prize-shortlisted His Bloody Project. He lives in Scotland.

  • Preti Taneja: Aftermath

    Usman Khan was a convicted terrorist who, on release from prison, went on to kill two people. Preti Taneja had taught Khan in prison – one of his victims was her colleague. This book is an attempt to rebuild faith in human compassion, and a recommitment to activism and radical hope. Preti Taneja’s first
    novel We That Are Young won the Desmond Elliot Prize. She is a professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

  • David Whitehouse: About a Son

    A moving exploration of love and loss. Part true crime, part memoir it tells the story of the shocking 2015 murder of 20-year-old Morgan Hehir in Nuneaton, the emotional repercussions, and the failures that enabled it to take place. David Whitehouse is the award-winning author of three acclaimed novels and is a journalist and screenwriter. He is originally from Nuneaton. 

  • Lea Ypi: Free: Coming of Age at the End of History

    An engrossing memoir of coming of age amid political upheaval in Albania, one of the most isolated countries on earth, where communist ideals had officially replaced religion. In 1990 the fall of the Berlin Wall changed everything, and Lea found herself questioning what freedom really meant. Lea Ypi is a professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics.

Past Shortlists


A Ghost in the Throat
Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Tramp Press

A Little Devil in America
Hanif Abdurraqib
Penguin Press

Come Join Our Disease
Sam Byers

Jenni Fagan
William Heinemann

Mrs Death Misses Death
Salena Godden

Sea State
Tabitha Lasley


Notes Made While Falling
Jenn Ashworth
Goldsmiths Press

Rainbow Milk
Paul Mendez
Little, Brown Book Group

Deborah Orr
Orion Publishing Group

This Is Not Propaganda
Peter Pomerantsev
Faber & Faber

My Name Is Why
Lemn Sissay
Canongate Books

Three Women
Lisa Taddeo
Bloomsbury Publishing


For the Good Times
David Keenan

Girl, Woman, Other
Bernardine Evaristo
Hamish Hamilton

Heads of the Colored People
Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Chatto & Windus

Max Porter

The Silence of the Girls
Pat Barker

This Brutal House
Niven Govinden


Jesse Ball
Granta Books

Nicola Barker
William Heinemann

In Our Mad and Furious City
Guy Gunaratne
Tinder Press

Olivia Laing
Pan Macmillan/Picador

The Cost of Living
Deborah Levy
Hamish Hamilton

I’ll be Gone in the Dark
Michelle McNamara
Faber & Faber


Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe
Kapka Kassabova
Granta Books

This is Memorial Device
David Keenan
Faber & Faber

The Long Drop
Denise Mina
Harvill Secker

This is the Place to Be
Lara Pawson
CB Editions

First Love
Gwendoline Riley
Granta Books

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile
Adelle Stripe
Wrecking Ball Press


A Woman on the Edge of Time
Jeremy Gavron

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
Olivia Laing

Ottessa Moshfegh
Jonathan Cape

Anatomy of a Soldier
Harry Parker
Faber and Faber

All That Man Is
David Szalay
Jonathan Cape

And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain
Adrian Tempany
Faber and Faber


In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile
Dan Davies

Honor Gavin
Penned in the Margins

Noon Tide Toll
Romesh Gunesekera
Granta Books

Original Rockers
Richard King
Faber & Faber

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
Peter Pomerantsev
Faber & Faber


The Valley
Richard Benson

The Kills
Richard House

The Wake
Paul Kingsnorth

The Trip to Echo Spring
Olivia Laing

American Interior
Gruff Rhys
Hamish Hamilton

The Free
Willy Vlautin
Faber & Faber


How I Killed Margaret Thatcher
Anthony Cartwright
Tindal Street Press

The Footballer Who Could Fly
Duncan Hamilton

People Who Eat Darkness
Richard Lloyd Parry
Jonathan Cape

Pig Iron
Benjamin Myers
Blue Moose Books

Myra, Beyond Saddleworth
Jean Rafferty
Wild Wolf Publishing