2021 was an incredible year of publishing for women. From the Northern writers making their mark on the Women’s Prize Futures Award to the authors dominating 2021’s Portico Prize Shortlist, there’s no doubting the talent that continues to emerge from our region.
Creating a list like this isn’t always the easiest task. While Northern women are still drastically underrepresented in literary publishing, narrowing our selection down to such a small number this time was the most challenging part.
We’ll continue to share the latest publications throughout the coming months, but for now, here are 10 books by northern women to read in 2022.
Milk Teeth by Jessica Andrews
From the author of prize-winning Saltwater comes Milk Teeth, one of our most anticipated books of 2022. A story about love, identity and sensuality, Andrews’ next novel feels like the natural progression from her debut. Centred around a young woman from the North of England, Milk Teeth is set to be another powerful tale about taking up space, navigating the world and the people we meet along the way.
Publishing: July 2022, Hodder and Stoughton
Ten Thousand Apologies by Adelle Stripe + Lias Saoudi
If you’re into literary biographies, cultish creativity and the world of alternative music, you’re going to love Ten Thousand Apologies. Co-written by singer Lias Saoudi and the acclaimed Yorkshire-based author Adelle Stripe, the book offers an in-depth exploration of the UK’s most notorious cult band – Fat White Family. Promising lucidity, humour and a definitive account of the era, this seems to be a must-read for music enthusiasts and culture fiends alike.
Publishing: February 2022, White Rabbit Books
Tangled In Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan
For avid non-fiction readers comes a disruptive, powerful and influential read from Bradford-born writer Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan: Tangled in Terror. In a bid to unpack the intrinsic narratives of Islamophobia from our history, society and daily lives, the book shows that until the most marginalised Muslims are safe, nobody is safe. If you’re passionate about current affairs, political meditations and looking past the surface level story, this is definitely one for your reading list.
Publishing: March 2022, Pluto Press
Hands by Lauren Brown
January marks the publication of the long-anticipated debut from writer Lauren Brown. Hands, a memoir that offers ‘an anxious mind unpicked’, explores a whole host of themes alongside a central desire to uncover the roots of compulsive skin-picking. In the process, the book’s weaving narratives take readers on a journey through a young woman’s life, presenting joy, healing and a love song to the North.
Publishing: January 2022, Harper North
Emergency by Daisy Hildyard
Fitzcarraldo Editions are constantly serving up fresh and thought-provoking literature for their readership to enjoy, and 2022 is no different. York-based Daisy Hildyard’s Emergency arrives in April, a novel about the dissolving boundaries between all life on earth. Stuck at home alone under lockdown, a woman recounts her 1990s childhood in rural Yorkshire. Dubbed as a reinvention of the pastoral novel for the climate change era, this one is undoubtedly topping our TBRs.
Publishing: April 2022, Fitzcarraldo Editions
When Our World’s Collide by Danielle Jawando
When Danielle Jawando’s powerful And the Stars Were Burning Brightly was published in 2020, it took the YA book world by storm. This year marks the arrival of her next novel, a powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices we make can completely change our future. When Our Worlds Collided explores the deep-rooted prejudice that exists within the police, media and our society today.
Publishing: March 2022, Simon & Schuster
The Odyssey by Lara Williams
From the prize-winning author of the inimitable Treats and Supper Club comes The Odyssey, a book that promises a satire of modern life. Lara Williams’ latest novel follows Ingrid, a luxury cruise ship worker who is selected for the employee mentorship scheme that pushes her further than she thought possible. Exploring themes of class, consumer capitalism and unexpected voyages, this book is certainly set to cause a stir this spring.
Publishing: April 2022, Penguin Books
After Everything You Did by Stephanie Sowden
Lovers of crime, take note: Manchester-based Stephanie Sowden’s debut is on its way. Set in modern America, this suspenseful story centres on Reeta Doe, who wakes up in hospital to be told she is responsible for the brutal murder of two women. She cannot answer the FBI’s questions – her only hope is Carol, a journalist who must follow the trail of devastation Reeta left in her wake. If you can’t get enough of a thriller, After Everything You Did is definitely one for the list.
Publishing: April 2022, Canelo
Hysterical by Pragya Agarwal
Pragya Agarwal’s non-fiction work is some of the best there is, especially if you appreciate well-researched, fact-driven mediations alongside personal reflections. After the success of (M)otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman in 2021, this year offers Hysterical: The Gendered Nature of Emotions. Casting her astute gaze to another angle of feminist thought, the behavioural scientist sets out to chart how emotions really came to be so gendered.
Publishing: July 2022, Canongate
Elektra by Jennifer Saint
After the storm of a debut that was Ariadne comes Jennifer Saint’s next mythological rewriting, this time bringing the tragic heroine Elektra to life. While focusing on the origins of the Trojan War and the dreadful curse blighting the House of Atreus, Saint is set to take readers on another female-dominated Greek adventure. If you enjoy the likes of Madeleine Millar, Pat Barker and Natalie Haynes, you’ll want to add this one to your 2022 stack.
Publishing: April 2022, Headline.
Words: Beth Barker
Beth wanted to contribute a monthly review to NRTH LASS in order to shine a light on Northern women writing great books. The North is very much underrepresented in publishing and she hopes a monthly review throughout 2021 will showcase the talent Northern women have to offer.
Image: Nick Fewings, Unsplash