Kate McIntosh gives us the rundown on books we can look forward to in 2022.
As 2022 begins, no-one can be sure what the year will bring – but one thing we do know is that there are lots of literary treats to look forward to. Here’s a quick rundown of our most promising picks.
Let’s start with two much-loved Scottish writers. Douglas Stuart’s heartbreaking debut Shuggie Bain won the Booker prize in 2020, and his second novel Young Mungo tells the story of love between two young men on opposite sides of the sectarian divide in Glasgow. Set to be published in April, it has already been praised by Publishers Weekly as a “literary wonder”. Multi award-winning Ali Smith, having concluded her seasonal quartet with last year’s Summer, returns with a novel exploring companionship in its various forms – Companion Piece, also arriving in April, is described by publisher Penguin as “unmissable”.
Candice Carty-Williams’ 2019 debut novel Queenie was published to critical acclaim and a spot on bestseller lists, and followed up with a successful YA offering, Empress & Aniya. In April, Carty-Williams will return with People Person, which she told The Times was “about the relationship you have with your dad and how affecting that can be – or not”. And those who have just finished drying their tears after reading Hanya Yanagihara’s Booker and Women’s Prize-shortlisted A Little Life can dive into her new novel, To Paradise, when it is released in January. Set in 1893, 1993, and 2093, To Paradise looks sure to be an emotional, thought-provoking read.
A number of promising debuts will also be published in the coming year. Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson, appearing in February, is the story of estranged siblings learning about their late mother’s past after she leaves a mysterious inheritance including a traditional Caribbean cake. The novel has been highly praised and is already being developed as a television series co-produced by Oprah Winfrey. Our Wives Under The Sea, the debut novel by award-winning short story writer Julia Armfield, is due in March. A story about a relationship changed by a deep-sea dive, it has already received acclaim from writers such as Sarah Waters, Neel Mukherjee, and Kiran Millwood Hargrave.
In non-fiction, fans of Margaret Atwood can look forward to March, when a book of more than 50 of her essays, Burning Questions, will be published. In August comes The Last Colony; a book by the international lawyer Philippe Sands QC (2016 winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize) which will explain the unlawful removal by the UK government of Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago, and the legal battle for their return. And for those who have fond childhood (or more recent!) memories of reading the Noughts & Crosses series, or any of Malorie Blackman’s many other works of fiction, the autobiography of the former Children’s Laureate will be published in September by #Merky Books – Stormzy’s publishing imprint.
This is, of course, just a smattering of the books the coming year will offer. However, even with this brief overview of what will be available, we can be assured that there is something for all literary tastes in 2022.