Kaitlyn Greenidge, Bryan Washington, and Hanif Abdurraqib are on the shortlists of the James Tait Black Prize 2022 announced on April 6, 2022.
The James Tait Black Memorial Prizes, awarded for literature written in the English language, are Britain’s oldest literary awards. The prizes, based at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, were founded by Janet Coats Black in memory of her late husband, James Tait Black, a partner in the publishing house of A & C Black Ltd in 1919. The awards are given for Fiction and Biographies written in English and published in the previous calendar year each worth £10,000 to the winner.
Some of the previous winners have been Eimear McBride, D. H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Nadine Gordimer, John le Carré, Salman Rushdie, and Zadie Smith. Helon Habila and Saidiya Hartman made the shortlist in 2020 while Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Shola von Reinhold were there in 2021.
The shortlists were announced on Thursday. Fiction Judge Dr Benjamin Bateman said of the entries, “At a time of extreme geopolitical unrest, these impressive works of contemporary fiction remind us of the local attachments and everyday intimacies that sustain people during difficult times.”
Biography Judge Dr Simon Cooke said, “Whether alighting on literature or film, music or painting, photography, diaries or everyday gestures, each of the shortlisted books this year is both an illuminating inquiry into the relations between life and art, and a vivid, surprising and exhilarating artistic performance in its own right.”
The following writers of African descent are in the running;
- Libertie, Kaitlyn Greenidge (Serpent’s Tail)
- Memorial, Bryan Washington (Atlantic Books).
- A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance, Hanif Abdurraqib (Allen Lane)
The award winners will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Art later in the year.