Colm Tóibín, Damon Galgut, Sunjeev Sahota & Natasha Brown finalists for $51K Folio Prize for literature

Nominees for the U.K.-based prize, which recognizes the best literary work of the year from any genre, run the gamut from a Booker Prize winner to a debut novelist.

Nominees for the U.K.-based prize recognizes the best literary work of the year from any genre

From left: Colm Tóibín, Damon Galgut, Sunjeev Sahota and Natasha Brown are among the finalists for the 2022 Rathbones Folio Prize. (Reynaldo Rivera, Michaela Verity, Knopf Canada,

Authors Colm Tóibín, Damon Galgut, Sunjeev Sahota and Natasha Brown are among the finalists for the £30,000 ($51,000 Cdn) 2022 Rathbones Folio Prize for the best literary work of the year.

This year's shortlist for the prize, open to all works of literature of any genre or form written in English and published in the U.K., includes books by four women and four men — six novels, a memoir and one work of poetry.

Galgut, a previous finalist for the Folio Prize in 2015, is shortlisted for his 2021 Booker Prize-winning novel The Promise, which is structured around four funerals over the span of four decades, charting the lives of a white South African family as they navigate the end of apartheid.

Irish novelist Tóibín, also shortlisted for the prize in 2015, made this year's shortlist for his tenth novel, The Magician, which draws on the life of German writer and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann and secrets revealed in diaries 20 years after his death.

Sahota is nominated for his novel China Room — also longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize — which was inspired by a story about his great-grandmother and follows a young bride in rural Punjab, exploring themes of belonging, oppression and the pursuit of freedom as it alternates between 1929 India and 1999 Britain.

British writer Brown's first novel, Assembly — dubbed "a scorching portrait of the British class system and its poisonous relationship with race, immigration, work, and sexual politics" by Vogue magazine — is the sole debut on the Folio shortlist.

The two other nominated novels include Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These, a story of courage set in Catholic Ireland, and My Phantoms by British writer Gwendoline Riley, about the dysfunctional relationship between a mother and daughter.

The shortlist is rounded out by Philip Hoare's Albert and the Whale, which blends memoir and art history to examine the intersection between life, art, and the sea through the life of German painter and theorist Albrecht Dürer; and poet Selima Hill's collection Men Who Feed Pigeons, seven poem sequences that trace women's relationships with men.

The winner will be announced on March 23.

The judges for this year's prize include novelist and short story writer Tessa Hadley, debut novelist and Octavia Poetry Collective founder Rachel Long, and award-winning author and journalist William Atkins.

American writer Carmen Maria Machado won the 2021 prize for her memoir In the Dream House, an unflinchingly honest look at domestic abuse in a female relationship.

Other past winners of the Folio Prize include Mexican-American author and essayist Valeria Luiselli and British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus.

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