‘A strange, rich and often dazzling collection’ – 2022 SoA Awards shortlists announced

Love stories, thrillers, mindfulness for children and a graphic novel are on the 2022 Society of Authors’ Awards shortlists. In our mission to promote reading, writing and literacy, ALCS is a proud sponsor of these Awards.

The Society of Authors has announced shortlists for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, the Betty Trask Prize and Awards, the Paul Torday Memorial Prize, the Queen’s Knickers Award, the McKitterick Prize and, in its first year, the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize.

This year’s awards are a showcase of the written word across all genres and formats, celebrating novels, children’s books and short stories, and exploring themes from race and social injustice, to coming of age, loneliness, grief and reconciliation. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Southwark Cathedral on 1 June hosted by Joanne Harris, with a keynote speech delivered by BAFTA-nominated, international prize-winning poet, writer, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE.

The shortlistees for each award are:

The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

Sponsored by ALCS, the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication.

  • Roland Watson-Grant for The Disappearance of Mumma Dell
  • David Frankel for The Memory System
  • Dean Gessie for Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump
  • Ben Tufnell for Last Days
  • Sheila Armstrong for Red Market
  • Kanya D’Almeida for I Cleaned the—

ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award judge Claire Fuller said: ‘It’s been such a joy to choose a shortlist for the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award. Each story has given me a view into a tiny magical world, showing me places, situations and characters I instantly believed in, whether they were based in reality or something more odd and unsettling, and the writing in each story was of course, outstanding.’

Total prize fund: £1,575

Betty Trask Prize & Awards

The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35.

  • Megan Nolan for Acts of Desperation (Jonathan Cape, Penguin Random House)
  • Natasha Brown for Assembly (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin General)
  • Will McPhail for IN: The Graphic Novel (Hodder & Stoughton, Sceptre)
  • Caleb Azumah Nelson for Open Water (Penguin Random House, Viking)
  • A. K. Blakemore for The Manningtree Witches (Granta Books)

Total prize and award fund: £26,200

Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize

The Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize is awarded to a UK or Irish writer, or a writer currently resident in those countries, for a novel focusing on the experience of travel away from home. In memory of Malcolm Lowry and endowed by Gordon Bowker, his biographer, and Ramdei Bowker.

  • Olivia Sudjic for Asylum Road (Bloomsbury)
  • Jamie O’Connell for Diving For Pearls (Doubleday / Transworld / Penguin Random House)
  • Catherine Menon for Fragile Monsters (Penguin General, Viking)
  • Tessa McWatt for The Snow Line (Scribe UK)
  • Sheila Llewellyn for Winter in Tabriz (Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton)

Total prize fund: £2,750

McKitterick Prize

The McKitterick Prize is awarded for a first novel by a writer over 40.

  • Lisa Taddeo for Animal (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Claire-Louise Bennett for Checkout 19 (Jonathan Cape, Penguin Random House)
  • Rachel Yoder for  Nightbitch (Penguin Random House)
  • David Annand for Peterdown (Little, Brown Book Group, Corsair imprint)
  • Celeste Mohammed for Pleasantview (Jacaranda Books)
  • Oana Aristide for Under The Blue (Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail imprint)

Total prize fund: £5,250

Paul Torday Memorial Prize

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60.

  • John Fletcher for Wuhan (Head of Zeus)
  • Jane Fraser for Advent (Honno Press)
  • Anthony English for Death of a Coast Watcher (Monsoon Books)
  • Yvonne Bailey-Smith for The Day I Fell Off My Island (Myriad Editions)
  • Michael Mallon for The Disciple (Zuleika)

Total prize fund: £1,000

Queen’s Knickers Award

The Queen’s Knickers Award is an annual prize founded by Nicholas Allan, author of The Queen’s Knickers, for an outstanding children’s original illustrated book for ages 0-7. It recognises books that strike a quirky, new note and grab the attention of a child, whether this be in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement.

  • Inch and Grub written by Alastair Chisholm, illustrated by David Roberts (Walker Books)
  • Maybe…written and illustrated by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
  • An Interesting Word for Every Day of the Year written by Dr Meredith L. Rowe, illustrated by Monika Forsberg (Magic Cat Publishing)
  • At This Very Moment written and illustrated by Matthew Hodson (Cicada Books)
  • While You’re Sleeping written by Mick Jackson, illustrated by John Broadley (Pavilion Children’s Books)

Total prize fund: £6,000

The Society of Authors administers eleven annual prizes for authors at all stages in their careers, recognising the best and most notable voices of the year. They are awarded annually during the Society of Authors Awards ceremony, which this year will take place on 1 June 2022 at Southwark Cathedral and will also be livestreamed.

Find out more at www.societyofauthors.org/prizes