Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist revealed


An impressive piece of historical fiction, a best-selling Heartstopper graphic novel and the true story of an escapee from Auschwitz are among the 10 books vying for the title of Waterstones Book of the Year 2022.

The honour, which was first awarded in 2012, is given annually to a book published in the previous 12 months and is voted on by a panel of Waterstones booksellers.

This year’s shortlist includes The Marriage Portrait, a historical novel set in Renaissance Italy by former winner Maggie O’Farrell.

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell has been shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2022 (Waterstones/PA)

The 50-year-old Northern Irish author won Book of the Year for Hamnet in 2020.

Also on the program are Bonnie Garmus’ debut novel, Lessons In Chemistry, an uplifting and heartbreaking love letter to science, as well as RF Kuang’s Babel – a blend of fantasy, alternate history and dark academia.

Meanwhile, the shortlist also includes an impressive range of non-fiction, from nature writing to art and history to cooking.

Jonathan Freedland’s The Escape Artist follows the extraordinary true story of Rudolf Vrba’s escape from Auschwitz and his ensuing battle to alert the world to its horrors.

Also shortlisted are Thomas Halliday’s Otherlands, which takes readers on a journey through the Earth’s ages, while Katy Hessel’s The Story Of Art Without Men upends the reader’s sense of art history.

Katherine Rundell’s The Golden Mole presents a highly personal collection of the lives of some of the world’s most enchanting creatures, with illustrations by Talya Baldwin.

The non-fiction line-up ends with Jeremy Lee’s Cooking – a collection of recipes from the celebrity chef, featuring simple dishes made with the finest ingredients.

The selection also includes the first graphic novel to make a book of the year shortlist, Heartstopper Volume 1.

Alice Oseman’s graphic novel became a Netflix sensation earlier this year after being adapted into a series for the streaming giant.

Kit Connor in Heartstopper
The book behind Netflix’s hit Heartstopper has become the first graphic novel to make Waterstones’ Book of the Year shortlist (Netflix/PA)

Concluding the list is Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, a debut children’s novel by AF Steadman, steeped in fantastical settings, magic, and gripping mystery.

Speaking about this year’s shortlist, Waterstones COO Kate Skipper said: “Our booksellers have nominated a phenomenal shortlist for this year’s Waterstones Book of the Year, capturing the essence of an exceptional publishing year.

“It’s a remarkable selection for its depth, full of books that alternately delight, divert and entertain the reader.

“Our booksellers have championed these titles throughout the year, putting them in the hands of readers across the country.

“I can’t wait to see which one will be crowned the winner.”

The Waterstones Book of the Year winner for 2022 will be chosen by a Waterstones panel and announced on December 1.

Last year the prize was won by Sir Paul McCartney for his book The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present.

Sir Paul’s book traces his life from childhood to the present day and his six-decade career through the lyrics of 154 famous songs, providing unique insight into the life of the songwriter.


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