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Here’s the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022

The Women’s Prize Trust empower all women to raise their voice – shining a spotlight on outstanding and ambitious fiction by women from anywhere in the world, regardless of their age, race, nationality or background.

Written by Beth Williams
Published 10.03.2022

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith

Two young Vietnamese women go missing, decades apart. Both are fearless, both are lost. And both will have their revenge. The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors and by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands.

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Careless by Kirsty Capes

At 3.04pm on a hot, sticky day in June, Bess finds out she’s pregnant. She could tell her social worker, Henry, but he’s useless. She should tell her foster mother, Lisa, but she won’t understand. She really ought to tell Boy, but she hasn’t spoken to him in weeks. Bess knows more than anyone that love doesn’t come without conditions. But this isn’t a love story…

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Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé

Nephthys is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington DC, ferrying ill-fated passengers in a haunted car. Endless rides and alcohol help manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River.

Unknown to Nephthys, her estranged great-nephew, 10-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river, where he converses with a mysterious figure he calls the ‘River Man’. When Dash arrives at Nephthys’s door bearing a cryptic note about the River Man, Nephthys must face what frightens her most…

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Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

In 1950, Marian Graves embarks on a Great Circle flight, circumnavigating the globe. She crash-lands into the Antarctic ice and is never seen again. Half a century later, Hadley Baxter, a traumatised actor beset by scandal, is drawn to play Marian Graves in her biopic – a role that will lead her to probe the mysteries of the vanished pilot’s life.

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Flamingo by Rachel Elliott

Sherry loves her husband, Leslie. She also loves Eve. It couldn’t have been a happier summer. But then Eve left and everything went grey. Now Daniel is all grown-up and broken. And when he turns up at Sherry’s door, it’s almost as if they’ve all come home again. But there’s still one missing. Where is Eve? And what, exactly, is her story?

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Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey

Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic for Frau Greta Hahn, but lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them is the looming presence of a work camp. Her husband, SS Sturmbannfuhrer Dietrich Hahn, has been assigned as the camp’s administrator. But, when Frau Hahn’s poor health leads her into an unlikely and poignant friendship with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her naive ignorance about what is going on so nearby is challenged.

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Salt Lick by Lulu Allison

A not-so-far-in-the-future dystopia. Britain is awash: the sea creeps into the land, brambles and forest swamp derelict towns. Food production has moved overseas and people are forced to move to the cities for work. Jesse and his puppy, Mister Maliks, roam the woods until his family are forced to leave for London. Lee runs from the terrible restrictions of the White Town where he grew up. Isolde leaves London on foot, walking the abandoned A12 in search of the truth about her mother.

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Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful; a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man – her husband, Patrick. So why is everything broken? Why is Martha friendless, practically jobless, and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix – or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.

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The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

After the tragic death of his father, 14-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house. Then, his mother develops a hoarding problem, and the voices grow more clamorous. When ignoring them doesn’t work, Benny seeks refuge in the silence of a large public library. There he meets a mesmerising street artist, a homeless philosopher-poet and his very own Book – who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

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The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini

Alethea Lopez is about to turn 40. Fashionable, feisty and fiercely independent, she manages a downtown boutique, but behind closed doors she’s covering up bruises from her abusive partner and is seeking solace in an affair with her boss. When she witnesses a woman murdered by a jealous lover, the reality of her own future comes a little too close to home.

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The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson

Famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art – the first in many decades – and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good. His wife Lucia is also an artist, but has always put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own and, as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice.

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The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

Opal is a Black punk artist before her time. In early ‘70s New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that prove a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women – especially Black women, who dare to speak their truth.

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The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas (who is Greek and a Christian) and Defne, (who is Turkish and a Muslim), can meet. In the centre of the tavern, growing through a cavity in the roof, is a fig tree. This tree will witness their hushed, happy meetings and their silent, surreptitious departures; and the tree will be there when the war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to rubble, when the teenagers vanish and break apart.

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The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ – her family’s holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water, she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests inside… So begins a story that unfolds over 24 hours and 50 years, as Elle’s shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision.

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The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

A small, independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Tookie – who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading ‘with murderous attention’ – must solve the mystery of this haunting while, at the same time, trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation and furious reckoning.

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This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

Dawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do. A wedding feast to conjure and cook. An infidelity to investigate. A lost soul to set free. As the sun rises, two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift – and many are no longer the same.

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