The longlists for the 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards have been announced.

Administered by The Sunday Times, South Africa’s biggest Sunday paper, the award honors the best piece of literary work by a South African writer in fiction and nonfiction. The Sunday Times Awards longlist is typically notable for its expansive selection. This year is no different. There are 25 and 31 books in the category of fiction and nonfiction, respectively. The list also showcases new trends in the South African literary scene, as well as who the big players are in publishing.

Fiction Longlist

The judging panel for fiction is chaired by Ekow Duker and includes Kevin Ritchie and Nommoniso Gasa. The prize, in its 21st year stipulates 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.”

One interesting note on this year’s longlist is that it includes Damon Galgut and Karen Jennings. Both authors went head-to-head on the Booker Prize longlist last year. We wonder how much Galgut’s Booker win would play on whether he advances to the shortlist or not.


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 ThenjiweMswane (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)

Non-fiction Longlist

The judges for the non-fiction prize, which is in its 32nd year, are Griffin Shea (Chair), Bongani Ngqulunga, and Nomavenda Mathiane. The non-fiction judges have their eyes out for books that present “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.”


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)