Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022

The longlists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022, in partnership with Exclusive Books, were announced on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

The Sunday Times Literary Prize, organised by South African newspaper The Sunday Times, has the categories of fiction and nonfiction. Founded in 1989, it has been won by Siphiwe Ndlovu and Terry Kurgan (2019), Bongani Ngqulunga and Harry Kalmer (2018), Zakes Mda and Greg Marinovich (2017), Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole (2016), Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut (2015) and a host of others.

The 2022 edition is here and this year they are brought to you in partnership with Exclusive Books. The process has started with the announcement of the longlists in the two categories;


This is the 21st year of the Sunday Times fiction prize. 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”.

Judging panel: Ekow Duker (chair), Kevin Ritchie, and Nomboniso Gasa


  • Go Away Birds, Michelle Edwards (Modjaji)
  • The Heart Is the Size of a Fist, PP Fourie (Kwela)
  • The Cape Raider, Justin Fox (Penguin Fiction)
  • The Promise, Damon Galgut (Umuzi)
  • The Tearoom, Gretchen Haley (Penguin Fiction)
  • Sanity Prevail, Perfect Hlongwane (Blackbird Books)
  • You Never Really Know, John Hunt (Umuzi)
  • An Island, Karen Jennings (Karavan Press)
  • Children of Sugarcane, Joanne Joseph (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • If You Save Me, Lisa-Anne Julien (Kwela Books)
  • Suitcase of Memory, A’Eysha Kassiem (Kwela)
  • The Lost Language of the Soul, Mandla Langa (Picador Africa)
  • At the Edge of the Desert, Basil Lawrence (Penguin Fiction)
  • When the Village Sleeps, Sindiwe Magona (Picador Africa)
  • Invisible Strings, Naledi Mashishi (Blackbird Books)
  • Wayfarers’ Hymns, Zakes Mda (Umuzi)
  • Junx, Tshidiso Moletsane (Umuzi)
  • All Gomorrahs Are The Same, ThenjiweMswane (Blackbird Books)
  • A Hibiscus Coast, Nick Mulgrew (Karavan Press)
  • The Wanderers, Mphuthumi Ntabeni (Kwela)
  • They Got to You Too, Futhi Ntshingila (Pan Macmillan)
  • Limerence, Vincent Pienaar (Penguin Fiction)
  • Isle, Claire Robertson (Umuzi)
  • The Artist Vanishes, Terry Westby-Nunn (Penguin Fiction)
  • Dreaming in Colour, Uvile Ximba (Modjaji)


The award will be bestowed on a book that presents “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”.

Judging Panel: Griffin Shea (Chair), Nomavenda Mathiane, and Bongani Ngqulunga


  • Bloody Sunday: The Nun, the Defiance Campaign and South Africa’s Secret Massacre, Mignonne Breier (Tafelberg)
  • Scatterling of Africa: My Early Years, Johnny Clegg (Pan Macmillan)
  • The Poisoners: On South Africa’s Toxic Past, Imraan Coovadia (Umuzi)
  • Out of Quatro: From Exile to Exoneration, Luthando Dyasop (Kwela)
  • Ougat: From a Hoe Into a Housewife and Then Some, Shana Fife (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • Female Fear Factory, Pumla Dineo Gqola (Melinda Ferguson Books)
  • Waterboy: Making Sense of My Son’s Suicide, Glynis Horning (Bookstorm)
  • How I Accidentally Became a Global Stock Photo and Other Strange and Wonderful Stories, Shubnum Khan (Pan Macmillan)
  • The Profiler Diaries: From the Case Files of a Police Psychologist, Gérard Labuschagne (Penguin Non-fiction)
  • Red Road to Freedom: A History of the South African Communist Party 1921-2021, Tom Lodge (Jacana Media)
  • Nation on the Couch: Inside South Africa’s Mind, Wahbie Long (Melinda Ferguson Books)
  • Searching for Sarah: The Woman Who Loved Langenhoven, Dominique Malherbe (Tafelberg)
  • Poli Poli: A Memoir, Barbara Masekela (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • You Have Struck a Rock: Women Fighting for their Power in South Africa, Gugulethu Mhlungu (Kwela)
  • Native Boy: Confessions of a Maplazini in the City, Thabo A. Molefe (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • The Scandalous Times of a Book Louse, Robert Muponde (Penguin Non-fiction)
  • Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa, Phakamisa Ndzamela (Tafelberg)
  • Escape from Lubumbashi: A Refugee’s Journey on Foot to Reunite Her Family, Estelle Neethling (Unisa)
  • Land Matters: South Africa’s Failed Land Reforms and the Road Ahead, Ngcukaitobi Tembeka (Penguin Non-fiction)
  • Boiling a Frog Slowly: A Memoir Of Love Gone Wrong, Cathy Park Kelly (Karavan Press)
  • The Skipper’s Daughter, Nancy Richards (Karavan Press)
  • Give Us More Guns: How South Africa’s Gangs were Armed, Mark Shaw (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present, Thula Simpson (Penguin Non-fiction)
  • How I Lost My Mother: A Story of Life, Care and Dying, Leslie Swartz (Wits Press)
  • The Boy Who Never Gave Up: A Refugee’s Epic Journey to Triumph, Emmanuel Taban (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • A Home on Vorster Street: A Memoir, Razina Theba (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • Into Dark Water: A Police Memoir, Jeremy Vearey (Tafelberg)
  • Joining the Dots: An Unauthorised Biography of Pravin Gordhan, Chris Whitfield and Jonathan Ancer (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • Deep Collusion: Bain and the Capture of South Africa, Athol Williams (Tafelberg)