Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou is one of five judges for the 2022 Booker Prize for Fiction. The others are writer and broadcaster Neil MacGregor (Chair), academic and broadcaster Shahidha Bari, historian Helen Castor, and novelist M John Harrison.
Mabanckou, who teaches and primarily publishes his work in French, is himself a two-time nominee for the International Booker Prize, the “foreign” equivalent of the Booker Prize.
The Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious literary honors for a single work, is annually awarded to a full length novel by a citizen of any country and published in the UK in the preceding year. Last year’s judging panel included Nigerian writer and two-time nominee Chigozie Obioma, and was won by South African writer and equally previous two-time nominee Damon Galgut. According to The Bookseller, Galgut’s winning novel The Promise shot to number one on Amazon’s bestsellers list in less than 24 hours after the winning announcement. Equally, the book’s publishers Chatto & Windus reprinted 153,000 copies two weeks after the win, following a dramatic spike in sales in the days after the win.
Gabby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, described the 2022 judging panel as “readers who have an innate understanding of that global scope, yet are steeped in the history and literature of Britain.” The panel will consider works published in the UK and Ireland between 1st October 2021 and 30th September 2022. A longlist of 12 or 13 will be announced in July, and a shortlist of 6 in September. The winner, who will receive a cash award of £50,000, will be revealed in November.