Women’s Prize For Fiction announces 2022 shortlist

International award honoring women’s writing

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The 2022 Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist. Photo Women's Prize for Fiction

The Women’s Prize for Fiction, said to be the greatest celebration of women’s creativity, recently announces its 2022 shortlist. Now in its 27th year, the Prize honors outstanding, ambitious, original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world. This year’s shortlist incorporates a range of themes including belonging and identity; the power of nature; the burden of history; personal freedom; sisterhood; mental illness; ghosts; gender violence; and the opportunity for renewal. The novels also offer globe-spanning settings, from Antarctica to Montana, Cyprus to Trinidad.

The shortlist includes:

  • The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini, Myriad Editions. Nationality: Trinidadian
  • The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, Corsair, Nationality: American
  • Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Nationality: New

    Zealander

  • The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki, Canongate Books, Nationality: American-Canadian
  • The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, Viking, Nationality: Turkish-British
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, Doubleday, Nationality: American

None of the selected authors have been previously shortlisted for the Prize. Elif Shafak has previously been longlisted twice (in 2008 and in 2013). She again features among the most prolific authors on the shortlist with 12 published books. Louise Erdrich with 23 published novels comes a close second.

This year’s shortlist has been selected by the Chair of Judges Mary Ann Sieghart and her judging panel – Lorraine Candy, award-winning journalist and editor; Dorothy Koomson, global bestselling novelist, journalist, and podcaster; Anita Sethi, award-winning author, and literary journalist; and Pandora Sykes, journalist, broadcaster and author.

Chair of judges and bestselling writer Mary Ann Sieghart says, “We were blessed with an extraordinarily high quality of submissions this year, which made whittling down the longlist from sixteen to six particularly difficult. But the shortlist contains a wonderfully diverse range of stories, subjects, settings, and authors, from the experience of a Native American woman in a haunted bookshop to an early female aviator in the Antarctic. One novel is narrated by a tree; another by a book. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, others tearful, and sometimes the two are combined in the same book. We judges have loved reading them all and we commend them to you as the best fiction written by women and published in the past year. Our only problem now will be to identify the winner out of these six brilliant novels.”

Susanna Clarke won the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel Piranesi while Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell was the winner in the pandemic year 2020. Tayari Jones won the coveted award in 2019 for her novel An American Marriage.

The winner of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be awarded on Wednesday 15 June 2022 at an evening awards ceremony in central London. She will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for GBP 30,000 (approximately Rs 29 lakh) and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by women to the widest range of readers possible, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written by a woman and published in the UK between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age, or novel’s subject matter – is eligible.

The Women’s Prize will be hosting a Virtual Shortlist Festival on Monday 23, Tuesday 24, and Wednesday 25 June, at 7 pm, featuring live Q&As with the shortlisted authors. These events will be hosted by Kate Mosse, founder-director of the Prize, and will present readings from well-known actors. Tickets can be bought via Eventbrite.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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