Home Blog The 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards: 56 Books Make Longlist

The 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards: 56 Books Make Longlist


The Longlist for the 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards has been announced. We feature all the stunning books on the list in both the fiction and nonfiction categories.

The South Africa’s most prestigious literary awards, administered by the SA-based The Sunday Times, honours the best piece of literary work written by a South African in both fiction and nonfiction. This year, the Longlist features a total of fifty-six (56) books— 25 and 35 in the categories of fiction and nonfiction, respectively. This is an expansive and incredible record given the large number of 71 books from the last year’s prize, which included books published in 2020 & 2021, to make up for the COVID-disrupted prize ceremony of the year 2020. If anything, this Longlist shows that the future of African literature is alive and thriving, with these number of authors taking on the world one story, book, at a time, bringing the continent to the forefront of things. It, also, showcases the strength of publishing in South Africa.

For the fiction category, in its 21st year, the judging panel is chaired by Ekow Duker, and includes Kevin Ritchie and Nommoniso Gasa. The criteria stipulate that the winning novel should be one of “rare imagination and style … a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.” Interestingly, this year’s Longlist includes books by Damon Galgut and Karen Jennings, both longlisted authors at the Booker Prize last year, with Galgut going ahead to clinch the acclaimed prize. 

Fiction Longlist

Go Away Birds by Michelle Edwards (Modjaji)

The Heart Is the Size of a Fist by PP Fourie (Kwela)

The Cape Raider by Justin Fox (Penguin Fiction)

The Promise by Damon Galgut (Umuzi)

The Tearoom by Gretchen Haley (Penguin Fiction)

Sanity Prevail by Perfect Hlongwane (Blackbird Books)

You Never Really Know by John Hunt (Umuzi)

An Island by Karen Jennings (Karavan Press)

Children of Sugarcane by Joanne Joseph (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

If You Save Me by Lisa-Anne Julien (Kwela Books)

Suitcase of Memory by A’Eysha Kassiem (Kwela)

The Lost Language of the Soul by Mandla Langa (Picador Africa)

At the Edge of the Desert by Basil Lawrence (Penguin Fiction)

When the Village Sleeps by Sindiwe Magona (Picador Africa)

Invisible Strings by Naledi Mashishi (Blackbird Books)

Wayfarers’ Hymns by Zakes Mda (Umuzi)

Junx by Tshidiso Moletsane (Umuzi)

All Gomorrahs Are The Same by Thenjiwe Mswane (Blackbird Books)

A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew (Karavan Press)

The Wanderers by Mphuthumi Ntabeni (Kwela)

They Got to You Too by Futhi Ntshingila (Pan Macmillan)

Limerence by Vincent Pienaar (Penguin Fiction)

Isle by Claire Robertson (Umuzi)

The Artist Vanishes by Terry Westby-Nunn (Penguin Fiction)

Dreaming in Colour by Uvile Ximba (Modjaji)


The judges for the non-fiction prize, which is in its 32nd year, are Griffin Shea (Chair), Bongani Ngqulunga, and Nomavenda Mathiane. The Longlisted titles comprise books excavating the heart of the nation, picking at the tension lines holding the parts together to explore personal and collective histories, grief, coming of age, terrorism, feminism, migration, and a host of social conditions. Mostly, what the prize is looking for is “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power,” and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity.”

Nonfiction Longlist

Bloody Sunday: The Nun, the Defiance Campaign and South Africa’s Secret Massacre by Mignonne Breier (Tafelberg)

Scatterling of Africa: My Early Years by Johnny Clegg (Pan Macmillan)

The Poisoners: On South Africa’s Toxic Past by Imraan Coovadia (Umuzi)

Out of Quatro: From Exile to Exoneration by Luthando Dyasop (Kwela)

Ougat: From a Hoe Into a Housewife and Then Some by Shana Fife (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

Female Fear Factory by Pumla Dineo Gqola (Melinda Ferguson Books)

Waterboy: Making Sense of My Son’s Suicide by Glynis Horning (Bookstorm)

How I Accidentally Became a Global Stock Photo and Other Strange and Wonderful Stories by Shubnum Khan (Pan Macmillan)

The Profiler Diaries: From the Case Files of a Police Psychologist by Gérard Labuschagne (Penguin Non-fiction)

Red Road to Freedom: A History of the South African Communist Party 1921-2021 by Tom Lodge (Jacana Media)

Nation on the Couch: Inside South Africa’s Mind by Wahbie Long (Melinda Ferguson Books)

Searching for Sarah: The Woman Who Loved Langenhoven by Dominique Malherbe (Tafelberg)

Poli Poli: A Memoir by Barbara Masekela (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

You Have Struck a Rock: Women Fighting for their Power in South Africa by Gugulethu Mhlungu (Kwela)

Native Boy: Confessions of a Maplazini in the City by Thabo A. Molefe (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

The Scandalous Times of a Book Louse by Robert Muponde (Penguin Non-fiction)

Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa by Phakamisa Ndzamela (Tafelberg)

Escape from Lubumbashi: A Refugee’s Journey on Foot to Reunite Her Family by Estelle Neethling (Unisa)

Land Matters: South Africa’s Failed Land Reforms and the Road Ahead by Ngcukaitobi Tembeka (Penguin Non-fiction)

Boiling a Frog Slowly: A Memoir Of Love Gone Wrong by Cathy Park Kelly (Karavan Press)

The Skipper’s Daughter by Nancy Richards (Karavan Press)

Give Us More Guns: How South Africa’s Gangs were Armed by Mark Shaw (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present by Thula Simpson (Penguin Non-fiction)

How I Lost My Mother: A Story of Life, Care and Dying by Leslie Swartz (Wits Press)

The Boy Who Never Gave Up: A Refugee’s Epic Journey to Triumph by Emmanuel Taban (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

A Home on Vorster Street: A Memoir by Razina Theba (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

Into Dark Water: A Police Memoir by Jeremy Vearey (Tafelberg)

Joining the Dots: An Unauthorised Biography of Pravin Gordhan by Chris Whitfield and Jonathan Ancer (Jonathan Ball Publishers)

Deep Collusion: Bain and the Capture of South Africa by Athol Williams (Tafelberg)


A shortlist will be announced at a later date before two winners will be selected, one from each category. Congratulations to the authors!

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