Shehan Karunatilka becomes the second Sri Lankan author to win the Booker Prize

The announcement was made by Neil MacGregor, Chair of the 2022 judges, in a ceremony at the Roundhouse, London, on October 17.

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida tells the story of a war photographer who has woken up dead in what seems to be a celestial visa office. He has ‘seven moons’ to try and solve the mystery of his death and to help unveil a cache of photos that will rock war-torn Sri Lanka.  In addition to his two novels, Karunatilaka has worked as an advertising copywriter, as well as writing songs, screenplays and travel stories.

What the judges said

Neil MacGregor, Chair of the 2022 judges, said:

‘Any one of the six shortlisted books would have been a worthy winner. What the judges particularly admired and enjoyed in The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida was the ambition of its scope, and the hilarious audacity of its narrative techniques. This is a metaphysical thriller, an afterlife noir that dissolves the boundaries not just of different genres, but of life and death, body and spirit, east and west. It is an entirely serious philosophical romp that takes the reader to ’the world’s dark heart’ — the murderous horrors of civil war Sri Lanka. And once there, the reader also discovers the tenderness and beauty, the love and loyalty, and the pursuit of an ideal that justify every human life.’

Neil MacGregor, Chair of the Booker Prize 2022 with the six shortlisted novels
Shehan Karunatilaka
Published by
Sort Of Books
Shehan Karunatilaka’s second novel is a searing, mordantly funny satire set amid the murderous mayhem of a Sri Lanka beset by civil war.

The Shortlist

Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Treacle Walker by Alan Garner
The Trees by Percival Everett
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

The Longlist

The 2022 judges

The 2022 shortlist in numbers


The age of author Alan Garner, shortlisted for his book Treacle Walker


The number of pages of Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These, the shortest book ever nominated in the prize’s history


The number of second novels on the shortlist - Glory, Small Things Like These and The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida


The number of books read by the 2022 judges


The approximate number of published works the shortlisted authors have written between them


The number of publishers appearing for the first time


The number of nationalities represented on the shortlist


The date in October when the winner of the Booker Prize 2022 will be announced