Booker Prize announces 2022 jury for $84K literary award

The £50,000 ($84,905 Cdn) Booker Prize annually recognizes the best original novel written in the English language and published in the U.K. and Ireland.
The 2022 Booker Prize jury is from left: M John Harrison, Alain Mabanckou, Neil MacGregor, Shahidha Bari and Helen Castor. (Booker Prize Foundation)

The Booker Prize has announced the jury for the 2022 prize.

Neil MacGregor, cultural historian, writer and broadcaster, will chair the five-person panel. Joining him are critics Shahidha Bari and M. John Harrison, historian Helen Castor and novelist and poet Alain Mabanckou.

The £50,000 ($84,905 Cdn) award annually recognizes the best original novel written in the English language and published in the U.K. and Ireland.

MacGregor is a historian from Glasgow. His work focuses on understanding the post-colonial world through objects. He was the director of the National Gallery in London and the British Museum. 

Bari is a British academic, critic and broadcaster. She is a professor at the London College of Fashion at the University of the Arts London and a presenter on the television programme Inside Culture on BBC Two. Her forthcoming book, Fashion, a study of dress, culture and identity, is part of a series exploring the Tate Britain collection.

Harrison is an English novelist and literary critic. His work includes the Virconium series, the novel Climbers and the Kefahuchi Tract trilogy, which consists of Light, Nova Swing and Empty Space. Harrison is considered among the most influential writers of modern science fiction. 

Castor is a British historian of the medieval and Tudor period. Her first book, Blood & Roses, a biography of the 15th-century Paston family, won the English Association's Beatrice White Prize in 2006. Her second book, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, was made into a BBC2 television series. 

Mabanckou is a writer and poet from Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo. He moved to France in his early 20s to study law and is considered one of the best-known French novelists. Mabanckou's writing focuses on contemporary Africa and depicts the experience of the African diaspora in France.

LISTEN | Alain Mabanckou on Writers & Company

The celebrated Congolese-French writer joined Eleanor Wachtel onstage at the Vancouver Writers Festival in 2016.

"This year's panel is composed of superb readers who have an innate understanding of that global scope, yet are steeped in the history and literature of Britain. They are experts in the porous boundaries of genre, and in the exchange of literary traditions. I can't wait to see what they recommend," said Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize foundation.

The panel will look for the best work of long-form English-language fiction that was published in the U.K., and Ireland between Oct. 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022. Authors from any nationality are eligible.

The "Booker Dozen," a longlist of 12 or 13 books, will be announced in July 2022 with the shortlist of six books to follow in September. The winner will be announced in November.

Last year's winner was South African writer Damon Galgut for his novel The Promise.

Two Canadian writers made the Booker Prize longlist in 2021: Mary Lawson for A Town Called Solace and Rachel Cusk for Second Place.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood shared the 2019 prize with British novelist Bernardine Evaristo. Atwood was recognized for her novel The Testaments, and Evaristo for her novel Girl, Woman, OtherThey split the prize money evenly. Atwood previously won the prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.

Two Canadians other than Atwood have won the prize since its inception in 1969: Michael Ondaatje in 1992 for The English Patient and Yann Martel in 2002 for Life of Pi.

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