Take the Booker on Holiday


Take #TheBookerPrizeOnHoliday – the best entries in our summer reading competition

We asked you to post an image featuring a Booker book in a summer holiday setting. Here, we reveal the winning entry and round up the other inspirational shots that caught our judges’ eyes

Written by Donna Mackay-Smith

Publication date and time: Published

Call us biased, but we think there’s no better way to relax on holiday than with a book. A cursory glance at any social media platform shows many of you agree: whether you’re whiling away time in transit, or thumbing a few pages on the beach, you love vacationing with a book in hand.

So, as part of our summer reading series, we thought we would celebrate this pastime by inviting our readers to take the Booker Prize on holiday. The competition was simple: show us where you were reading a book from the Booker Library by posting a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #BookerPrizeonholiday. Judged by the editorial team, the prize for the best photograph was a set of all 13 books on the Booker Prize 2022 longlist.

The competition closed on August 8 2022, and we were delighted to see longlistees, shortlistees and winners spanning all decades, genres and nations. It was great to see such a variety of books among the entries - which proves there’s enormous affection for not only the more recent Booker-nominated titles, but for some of the less well-known works in the Booker Library, too. 

Clearly, these books were read far and wide; you shared photos from the rainforests of Kerala; from the side of swimming pools in Florida; and even fireside in Sydney, during Australia’s winter. There was plenty of variety in the images, too. Some people clearly spent a long time on composition, while others cleverly chose a book title that in some way spoke to its surroundings. So before we unveil the winner, we wanted to showcase some that struck a chord with us.

‘That sun, that light had faded, and she had faded with them. Now she was as grey as the season itself.’ @_the_book_girl__ (above) posted on Instagram, quoting none other than 1984 winner Anita Brookner’s Hotel Du Lac, against the backdrop of a honey sunset in Santorini in Greece.  

@Elizabethsmout (left) finished Booker Prize 2022 longlisted Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley ‘during the change of ends at the Commonwealth Games T20’, at the Games themselves. They described it as ‘beautifully written & with such love at its core’.

Kieran Miles (below) started Laila Lalami’s vibrant work of historical fiction The Moor’s Account on the ferry from Andalucía to Tangiers. They were ‘completely absorbed, perched overlooking where the Med meets the Atlantic’. 

Larry Swatuk (below) went on safari to Little Tubu in the Okavango Delta. In the midst of Botswana’s grasslands, with a pride of lions roaming closeby, they stole a few moments to read Sunjeev Sahota’s China Room

While some ventured across the world, others staycationed. Twitter user @owlishghost (below) read on a small patch of green at home, while their cat basked nearby in the summer heat. 

@bookishbeck (below) took Mary Lawson’s heartbreaking family drama, The Other Side of The Bridge, on a local jaunt. At home in Newbury, ‘I’m glad I have Booker nominees like this one to transport me anywhere’, they said.

The winning entry: Steph Moore's photo of Avni Doshi’s Burnt Sugar

Our judges found it refreshing to see so many unusual choices. The entrants’ use of imagination and resourcefulness meant picking just one winner was a tough decision. But, in the end, having said we would choose the most eye-catching and original image, we chose Steph Moore’s photo of Avni Doshi’s Burnt Sugar, taken in Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland. 

We loved the way that both the ‘sugar’ in the title and the blue and pink of the cover are reflected in the upended ice-cream. And what with this year’s heatwave, the ‘burnt’ in the title is something many of us are familiar with this summer. This winning entry wins the 2022 Booker Prize longlist.

Congratulations, Steph! We just have one question: what flavour is that ice-cream?


A post shared by Steph Moore (@stefanymore)

Take #TheBookerPrizeOnHoliday: notable entries the judges loved


A post shared by alexandra (@alexandra_mrntd)


A post shared by Amy C (@amycheadsreads)