The 2022 shortlist of The Diverse Book Awards were announced yesterday and I am so happy to see some of my personal favorites making the shortlist cut. If you hadn’t have the chance to read these titles, you are definitely missing out!
Created by award-winning author Abiola Bello and award-winning publicist Helen Lewis and co-founders of The Author School, this award aims to highlight the best of the diverse voices published in the UK & Ireland, this year focusing on those published during 2021, both traditionally and self-published.
The shortlist will be announced on September 20 and the winners on October 20. And now without further ado, here is the longlist:
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Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan
UK Title: Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths
Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English–and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. (Credit: Harry N. Abrams)
The Very Merry Murder Club by Abiola Bello, Annabelle Sami, Benjamin Dean, Dominique Valente, Elle McNicoll, E.L. Norry, Maisie Chan, Roopa Farooki, Nizrana Farook, Patrice Lawrence, Joanna Williams, Serena Patel, Sharna Jackson, illustrated by Harry Woodgate. Edited by Robin Stevens and Serena Pat
Sleuthing through the snow, on a merry mysterious day, in disguise we go, investigating all the way . . .
This gorgeous wintery hardback gift of a collection brings together thirteen of the bestselling, award-winning and exciting debut authors: Abiola Bello, Annabelle Sami, Benjamin Dean, E.L. Norry, Elle McNicoll, Dominique Valente, Joanna Williams, Maisie Chan, Nizrana Farook, Patrice Lawrence, Roopa Farooki, Serena Patel and Sharna Jackson. With stunning illustrations by Harry Woodgate.
Join them as part of the Very Merry Murder Club as they lead you on a snow-covered wintery journey of festive foul play and murderously magnificent mysteries! (Credit: Harpercollins)
- Hey You! by Dapo Adeola, Diane Ewan, Onyinye Iwu, Jade Orlando, Bec Glendining, Derick Brooks, Joelle Avelino, Dunni Mustapha, Kingsley Nebechi, Chanté Timothy, Nicole Miles, Camilla Sucre, Jobe Anderson, Alyissa Johnson, Chatlot Kristensen, Sharee Miller, Reggie Brown, Selom Sunu, Gladys Jose
- How I Saved the World In A Week by Polly Ho-Yen, illustrated by George Ermos
- Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
- The Best Diwali Ever by Sonali Shah, illustrator Chaaya Prabhat
- The Lightning Catcher by Claire Weze
- The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell
Teen & Young Adult
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann
The sea carries our pain. The stars carry our future.
Natalie’s world is falling apart. She’s just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge.
Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future.
A twist of fate brings them together and gives them both hope. But is hope enough to mend a broken world? (Credit: Penguin UK)
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants – as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, which only gets harder once Flavia walks into her life.
Beautiful and charismatic, Flavia takes Nishat’s breath away. But as their lives become tangled, they’re caught up in a rivalry that gets in the way of any feelings they might have for each other.
Can Nishat find a way to be true to herself… and find love too? (Credit: Hachette Children’s Group)
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
- Being Amani by Annabelle Steele
- Skin of The Sea by Natasha Bowen
- Splinters of Sunshine by Patrice Lawrence
- What We’re Scared Of by Keren David
- You’re The One That I Want by Simon James Green
The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson
There’s a serial killer on the loose.
When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.The race is on before more bodies are found.
She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind . . .Will it take a killer to catch the killer?
Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer? (Credit: HarperCollins UK)
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.
At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years. (Credit: Penguin Books)
- Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
- His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
- Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah
- The Day I Fell Off My Island by Yvonne Bailey-Smith
- The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
- This One Sky Day by Leone Ross