Winners Announced | English-language Book of the Year Awards '22

Winners Announced | English-language Book of the Year 2022

The winners in all English-language categories of Wales Book of the Year 2022, and the People’s Choice Award, have just been announced by Literature Wales on BBC Radio Wales’ The Arts Show.

Announced live on the air, the winners selected from the four categories of Literature Wales’ Book of the Year 2022 – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children and young people – as well as the overall English-language winner of the Wales Book of the Year title and the People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Wales Arts Review) have just been announced.

Nadifa Mohamed is the biggest winner of 2022, with her third novel The Fortune Men (Viking, Penguin Random House) crowned the overall winner of Wales Book of the Year 2022, with it also winning the Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award, and the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award. Mohamed’s novel was also shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize and the Costa Novel of the Year Award – it tells the true story of Mahmood Hussein Mattan, a Somali sailor who was wrongfully convicted for murder in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay in the 1950s. For these wins Mohamed will be awarded a total prize of £4,000 along with a bespoke trophy, designed and created by the artist Angharad Pearce Jones.

The Shark Caller (Usborne) by Zillah Bethell won in the children’s and young people category; The Journey is Home (Parthian) by John Sam Jones took home the creative non-fiction award; A Voice Coming From Then (Arachne Press) by Jeremy Dixon won the English@BangorUni Poetry Award.

Each category winner will receive a prize of £1,000 and the main award winners will receive a further £3,000. Each winner will also receive an iconic Wales Book of the Year trophy designed by the installation artist and blacksmith Angharad Pearce Jones.

All books in the running for these awards were written by Welsh or Wales-based writers or contained a strong Welsh-theme. The announcement was made during a special edition of BBC Radio Wales’ Arts Show with presenter Nicola Heywood Thomas joined by the Award’s judges, Leusa Llewelyn from Literature Wales, and Wales Arts Review‘s own Gary Raymond with featured contributions from all 12 shortlisted writers. 

The English-language judges included poet and writer Krystal Lowe, journalist and broadcaster Andy Welch, author and presenter Matt Brown, and poet and recipient of a 2020 Rising Stars Award Taylor Edmonds. Commenting on behalf of the panel, Krystal Lowe said: “We want to thank every single writer who submitted their book to this award. It was not only a joy but an honour to read every one of them. It was incredible to see the breadth of talent and creativity living in Wales, and I look forward to following the long and fruitful careers of all the writers who submitted. We are so pleased to have selected Nadifa Mohamad’s The Fortune Men and hope that many people read this compelling novel.”

Leusa Llewelyn, Literature Wales’ Joint Interim CEO said: “Many congratulations to all of the category winners, everyone at Literature Wales have been enjoying and discussing the shortlisted books for months. A special congratulations to Nadifa for winning the hat-trick with The Fortune Men. It’s no surprise at all that she has captured the judges’ and the readers’ hearts with this powerful novel about injustice and oppression. The Fortune Men brings alive the multicultural docklands of our capital city in the 1950s with its sights, smells and sounds, with Cardiff becoming an intriguing character in its own right within the pages of this captivating novel.”

You can see the full list of shortlisted writers and the winning titles below:

Wales Book of the Year 2022 winner

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin Random House)

Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice winner

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin Random House)

Children & YP

Children & Young People

Daydreams and Jellybeans by Alex Wharton (Firefly Press)

The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc)

The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell (Usborne) [winner]

Book of the Year 2022

Creative Non-fiction

The Journey is Home by John Sam Jones (Parthian Books) [winner]

Roots Home by Gillian Clarke (Carcanet Press)

The Long Field by Pamela Petro (Little Toller Books)

Book of the Year 2022


Pain Sluts by Sian Hughes (Storgy Books)

I Am the Mask Maker and other stories by Rhiannon Lewis (Victorina Press)

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin Random House) [winner]

Book of the Year 2022

English@Bangor Uni Poetry Award

Inhale/Exile by Abeer Ameer (Seren)

A Voice Coming From Then by Jeremy Dixon (Arachne Press) [winner]

The Sorry Tale of the Mignonette by Angela Gardner (Shearsman Books Ltd)


You can find out more about Wales Book of The Year here. You can see the winners in the Welsh-language Wales Book of the Year 2022 categories here.