Ruth Ozeki has just been announced as the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 winner for her fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness. Ruth is a US-Canadian author, film-maker and Zen Buddhist priest, and her winning book tells the story of a teenage boy who finds comfort in reading after the death of his father.
Chair of the judges and fellow writer Mary Ann Sieghart said that The Book of Form and Emptiness stood out for its ‘sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy’.
She said: ‘A celebration of the power of books and reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and is a complete joy to read. Ruth Ozeki is a truly original and masterful storyteller.’
The longlist was revealed on International Women’s Day back in March, featuring a mixture of debut and acclaimed authors and with a real breadth of stories. It was then whittled down to just six books, providing some excellent inspiration for your next read.
This year’s books have been judged by author Mary Ann Sieghart, award-winning journalist and editor Lorraine Candy, global bestselling novelist, journalist and podcaster Dorothy Koomson, award-winning author and literary journalist Anita Sethi and journalist, broadcaster and author Pandora Sykes.
The six shortlisted books were:
- Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
- The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
- Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
- The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini
- The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
- The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
The ten additional books that made up the longlist were:
- Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
- Careless by Kirsty Capes
- Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé
- Flamingo by Rachel Elliott
- Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey
- Salt Lick by Lulu Allison
- The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson
- The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
- The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
- This One Sky Day by Leone Ross
If you’re wondering what to add to your reading list, YOU’s books editor Natasha Poliszczuk picked her top four favourite reads from the longlist.
Natasha’s top picks from the longlist
The Paper Palace
‘I’m glad I don’t have to pick the winner, but, if pressed, it’s possible I’d speak up for The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Heller’s novel of secrets and lies, regrets and seething desire, set one sultry summer on Cape Cod. It’s sensuous, gripping and utterly immersive.’
‘Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead is a proper epic of masterfully interwoven timeliness, which soars as high as Marian, the daredevil aviator who vanishes forever as she attempts to circumnavigate the globe. Glitz, glamour, guts and the grand sweep of history – it’s breathtakingly accomplished.’
Sorrow and Bliss
‘After reading Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, I kept insisting everyone else ought to read it immediately. It’s a sharp, brilliant, darkly funny book about Martha’s struggle to find happiness and herself in the face of (an unnamed) mental illness. Understated but quietly, undeniably brilliant.’
‘Charlotte Mendelson has a forensic eye and lays bare the complex, messy dynamics of family life – The Exhibitionist is a deliciously dark treat.’