The shortlists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022, in partnership with Exclusive Books, were announced on Sunday, September 4, 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 brought to you in partnership with Exclusive Books is here. The process has started with the announcement of the longlists being made public on June 26 in the two categories. The shortlist announced on Sunday, September 4 is;


Judging panel: Ekow Duker (chair), Kevin Ritchie, and Nomboniso Gasa
Ekow Duker, judging panel chair said, “I’m sure we can all remember our school days when the teacher would pose a question to the class. Some pupils would immediately strain to answer. Others might look at each other in puzzlement, the answer tantalisingly out of reach. This year’s judging of the Fiction Prize was a little like that. Some novels by their magisterial telling of an important story, screamed at the judges to, “Pick me! Pick me!”. Others were more restrained, quietly confident in their ability to narrate a memorable tale.”


  • The Promise, Damon Galgut (Umuzi)
  • An Island, Karen Jennings (Karavan Press)
  • Children of SugarcaneJoanne Joseph (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • Junx, Tshidiso Moletsane (Umuzi)
  • All Gomorrahs Are The Same, ThenjiweMswane (Blackbird Books)


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

Griffin Shea, chair of the judging panel said, “Current events have become so overwhelming, we created the word doomscrolling to describe the despair the news of the day leaves us to wallow in. This year’s shortlist takes a few steps back to put things in perspective. Three of the books give a broad sweep of history, told with fresh perspectives that give insight into how we got to where we are today.”


  • 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)
  • Land Matters: South Africa’s Failed Land Reforms and the Road Ahead, Ngcukaitobi Tembeka (Penguin Non-fiction)
  • History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present, Thula Simpson (Penguin Non-fiction)

The winners, who will be announced later in the year, will each receive R100,000.


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