2023 in books: highlights for the year ahead


Bret Easton Ellis is back with his first novel in 13 years. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images


Spare by Prince Harry, Bantam

The prince tells all in a memoir that was delayed following the death of his grandmother, the Queen, in September 2022.

Bloodbath Nation by Paul Auster, Faber

A devastating reflection on 200 years of American gun culture from the acclaimed writer and film-maker.

Pirate Enlightenment by David Graeber, Allen Lane

In this posthumous work, the anthropologist and Occupy movement leader makes the case that Enlightenment values were best embodied by a ramshackle utopia in late 17th-century Madagascar.

I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be by Colin Grant, Cape

A memoir told through the stories of Grant’s mother, sister, uncle and others. It also covers his short-lived medical career and time at the BBC.

Pegasus: How a Spy in Your Pocket Threatens the End of Privacy, Dignity and Democracy by Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud, Macmillan

An inside account of the investigation that exposed the digital surveillance system capable of infecting billions of mobile phones.

Red Memory by Tania Branigan, Faber

Fifty years after the Cultural Revolution, the Guardian’s former China correspondent shows how it continues to reverberate through the lives of ordinary people.

In Good Hands: The Making of a Modern Conductor by Alice Farnham, Faber

One of Britain’s foremost conductors lifts the lid on what they actually do and how you become one.


The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis, Swift

Broadcast last year on his podcast, Ellis’s first novel in 13 years melds autobiography and fiction to focus on a group of privileged LA students at risk from a serial killer.

The New Life by Tom Crewe, Chatto

An impressive debut of unconventional lives in Victorian England, inspired by Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds’s work on gay sexuality.

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey, 4th Estate

“If your husband dies, at least people feel bad for you …” The Schitt’s Creek screenwriter’s debut is a modern comedy about divorce and precarity.

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor, Fleet

Action-packed crime drama of corruption in contemporary India set around a wealthy family.

Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan, Daunt

Following the brilliant short-story collection The Dominant Animal, a tough, beautiful novel about a horse trainer drawn from conversations between subject and author.

Cold People by Tom Rob Smith, Simon & Schuster

An alien invasion forces human survivors to Antarctica: the Child 44 author turns to high-concept SF with an apocalyptic tale about efforts to adapt and evolve.


Balladz by Sharon Olds, Cape

The American poet’s new collection explores childhood and white privilege as well as the experience of lockdown.


Influential by Amara Sage, Faber

YA debut about social media, internet fame and cancel culture, with a heroine whose parents have put her whole life online.


Family portraits … Ayòbámi Adébáyò. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observer


And Then What?: Inside Stories of 21st-Century Diplomacy by Catherine Ashton, Elliott & Thompson

The former EU foreign policy chief and leader of the Iran nuclear negotiations breaks her silence in this memoir of top-level diplomacy.

The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism by Martin Wolf, Allen Lane

With both capitalism and democracy under increasing stress across the world, journalist Martin Wolf makes the case that the marriage of these two systems is still the best way of organising society.

Getting Better by Michael Rosen, Ebury

After spending six weeks on a ventilator during a bout of Covid-19, the former children’s laureate reflects on this and other episodes of suffering and recovery.

Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory by Janet Malcolm, Granta

In her final book, posthumously published, the New Yorker writer weaves an affecting memoir around 12 family photographs.

The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens Our Businesses, Infantilizes Our Governments and Warps Our Economies by Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington, Allen Lane

Political economists Mazzucato and Collington chart the inexorable rise of consulting, which thrives in an era of hollowed-out states and stripped-back firms.

Two Sisters by Blake Morrison, Borough

Thirty years after the searingly honest And When Did You Last See Your Father?, Morrison writes about his sister Gill, whose alcoholism and ill health fractured their relationship.

Transitional by Munroe Bergdorf, Bloomsbury

The model and trans activist tells the story of her own search for authenticity and argues that we all transition, one way or another.

It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism by Bernie Sanders, Allen Lane

The man who challenged Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination sketches his vision for a future in which the 1% no longer call the shots.


Victory City by Salman Rushdie, Cape

Presented as the translation of an ancient epic, Rushdie’s latest explores the rise and fall of a magical Indian city, along with the spinning of stories and the quest for women’s agency.

The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon, Picador

Two young Sarajevans are caught up in the first world war and beyond, in a novel about history’s revolutions and the enduring power of love.

Owlish by Dorothy Tse, translated by Natascha Bruce, Fitzcarraldo

This subversive fairytale debut set in an alternative Hong Kong interrogates life under oppressive regimes.

A Spell of Good Things by Ayòbámi Adébáyò, Canongate

Two families’ destinies are intertwined, in a portrait of inequality in contemporary Nigeria from the author of the Women’s prize-shortlisted Stay With Me.

In Ascension by Martin MacInnes, Atlantic

From a trench in the Atlantic to alien intervention, inner worlds to outer space, fiction full of discovery and wonder.

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein, Bloomsbury

From a Commonwealth short story prize winner, a striking debut of violence, religion and family struggles set in 1940s colonial Trinidad.


Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi, Bloomsbury

A bold debut collection delving into Blackness, trauma, sexuality and the divine from the author of The Death of Vivek Oji.


A fast-paced tale of idealism and political infighting from Eleanor Catton. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian


Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell, Bodley Head

The author of How to Do Nothing imagines a future in which we free ourselves from the timetables imposed by the profit motive, and rediscover the pace and rhythms of the pre-industrial world.

The Earth Transformed by Peter Frankopan, Bloomsbury

A sweeping examination of how climate has shaped history, and how humans in turn have shaped climate, from the author of The Silk Roads.

Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia by Hadley Freeman, 4th Estate

The columnist and author of House of Glass reflects on her experience of anorexia and as an inpatient on an eating disorders ward.

Ravenous: Why Our Appetite Is Killing Us and the Planet, and What We Can Do About It by Henry Dimbleby, Profile

The founder of Leon and leader of the National Food Strategy on the problem with modern diets.

The Marriage Question: George Eliot’s Double Life by Clare Carlisle, Allen Lane

A fresh perspective on the great writer through the lens of her relationship with (already married) George Lewes, which she called “this double life, which helps me to feel and think with double strength”.

Dispatches from the Diaspora by Gary Younge, Faber

A collection of the former Guardian columnist’s journalism, sketching the contours of recent Black history from Nelson Mandela’s first election campaign to the Obama presidency and beyond.

The Best Minds by Jonathan Rosen, Allen Lane

The tragic story of Rosen’s childhood best friend, Michael Laudor,

whose brilliant academic career was cut short by a psychotic illness that led him to commit a horrific act of violence.

The Patriarchs: How Men Came to Rule by Angela Saini, 4th Estate

The science journalist delves into deep time to uncover the historical roots of gendered oppression.


Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton, Granta

A decade on from the Booker-winning The Luminaries, this is a fast-paced tale of idealism and political infighting in the end times as New Zealand environmental activists run up against an American billionaire.

Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry, Faber

After two books set in 19th-century America, Barry returns to Ireland for the story of a retired policeman pulled back into the past.

Tomás Nevinson by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, Hamish Hamilton

Right and wrong blur in the final novel from the Spanish writer who died last year, as a retired spy goes undercover on the trail of a terrorist.

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh, Hamish Hamilton

Fable of a town afflicted by madness, from the author of The Water Cure and Blue Ticket.

Cuddy by Benjamin Myers, Bloomsbury

The hermit St Cuthbert, unofficial patron saint of the north of England, is at the centre of a genre-melding experimental novel based around the creation of Durham cathedral and ranging from the Viking invasions to the present day.

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood, Chatto

A collection of short stories featuring “beloved cats, a confused snail, Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell, Hypatia of Alexandria and an alien”, with a central sequence focusing on a long-married couple.

Dr No by Percival Everett, Influx

Following the Booker-shortlisted The Trees, an absurdist caper with bite about the exploits of a brilliant maths professor and an aspiring Bond villain.

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery, Bloomsbury

The Irish short story writer’s debut novel focuses on two teens coming of age in 60s New York, in the orbit of Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Man-Eating Typewriter by Richard Milward, White Rabbit

The transgressive adventures of a psychopath in Swinging 60s London: this ingenious homage to the avant garde is told entirely in the gay slang Polari.


Different for Boys by Patrick Ness, Walker

From the Chaos Walking author, an exploration of sexuality and masculinity focusing on a gay teenager.


David Baddiel investigates the psychological pull of religious faith. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian


What Good Law Can Do by Jolyon Maugham, WH Allen

The founder of the Good Law Project sets out his vision for a legal system that defends the weak instead of serving those in power.

How to Think Like a Philosopher by Julian Baggini, Granta

Baggini takes inspiration from the greatest philosophers to provide a toolkit for clear thinking in an era of misinformation.

Among Others: Friendships and Encounters by Michael Frayn, Faber

The playwright and novelist writes about his inspirations in this celebratory memoir.

The Forgotten Girls: An American Story by Monica Potts, Allen Lane

A journalist returns to her home town to look at the very different course her best friend’s life has taken amid rural poverty in Arkansas.

Free and Equal: What Would a Fair Society Look Like? by Daniel Chandler, Allen Lane

A galvanising vision for society that uses the revolutionary ideas of American thinker John Rawls as its starting point.

George: A Magpie Memoir by Frieda Hughes, Profile

The poet and painter (daughter of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes) writes of her unlikely love for a magpie that she rescues and rears by hand in the Welsh countryside.

The God Desire by David Baddiel, William Collins

An examination of atheism and the fundamental psychological pull of religious faith from the comedian and author of Jews Don’t Count.

Stuck Monkey: The Deadly Planetary Cost of the Things We Love by James Hamilton-Paterson, Apollo

From online shopping to pets and phones, the story of how unthinking consumer habits contribute to the environmental crisis.


Granta Best of Young British Novelists 5

Once every decade since 1983, Granta magazine has tipped 20 British fiction writers for enduring success. Who will make it this time? Tash Aw, Rachel Cusk, Brian Dillon and Helen Oyeyemi are the judges.

A House for Alice by Diana Evans, Chatto

Set in the shadow of Grenfell, the follow-up to Ordinary People features a family whose matriarch wants to move back to Nigeria after 50 years in London.

Greek Lessons by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith and Emily Yae Won, Hamish Hamilton

A mute young woman in Seoul makes a connection with her language teacher, who is himself losing his sight, in the new novel from the author of The Vegetarian.

The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller, Fig Tree

Following the Costa-winning Unsettled Ground, an investigation of grief, atonement and survival, in which a young woman takes part in a mysterious vaccine trial.

Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Reuben Woolley, MacLehose

An ex-KGB officer, an ageing hippy and a pair of young lovers feature in an affectionate, blackly comic picaresque of the Ukrainian city from the author of Death and the Penguin.

The Long Form by Kate Briggs, Fitzcarraldo

The debut novel from a prizewinning essayist considers motherhood, babyhood, caregiving, reading and the creativity of everyday life.

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey, Granta

Set in an alternative America, an ambitious, genre-busting investigation of creativity told through the life of an iconoclastic artist, as written by her grieving widow.

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa by Stephen Buoro, Bloomsbury

Exuberently funny coming-of-age debut about a Nigerian teenager falling for a white girl.

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld, Doubleday

Average-looking men get to date beautiful women – why is the reverse never true? A comedy scriptwriter tests out this social rule in the follow-up to Rodham.


Divisible by Itself and One by Kae Tempest, Picador

Poems of gender, transformation and the body in a collection about authenticity and conformity.


Simon Schama examines the problem of killer diseases from a sweeping historical perspective. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian


Art Is Magic by Jeremy Deller, Cheerio

The artist behind the Battle of Orgreave and Sacrilege (an inflatable version of Stonehenge) explores the people, places and cultural artefacts that have inspired his work.

Politics: A Survivor’s Guide: How to Stay Engaged Without Getting Enraged by Rafael Behr, Atlantic

The Guardian columnist and self-confessed news junkie draws on years of reporting to trace the roots of our toxic politics and offer good reasons not to switch off.

Sleeping on Islands: A Life in Poetry by Andrew Motion, Faber

The former poet laureate guides us through his life in poetry, from encounters with Larkin and Auden to the act of composition itself.

Is This OK?: One Woman’s Search for Connection Online by Harriet Gibsone, Picador

The phenomenon of parasocial relationships – the bonds we think we have with people we only know online – are expertly dissected by Gibsone in her account of living digitally in the 21st century.

Out by Tim Shipman, William Collins

The final part of the former Sunday Times political editor’s Brexit trilogy – following All Out War and Fall Out – covers the effort to “get Brexit done” under prime minister Boris Johnson.

Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines and the Health of Nations by Simon Schama, Simon & Schuster

Schama applies a sweeping historical perspective to the problem of killer diseases, telling the stories of 15 people whose pioneering work altered the course of pandemics and our understanding of them.

I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was by Ruby Wax, Penguin Life

Wax’s “most honest, rawest book to date” covers her lifelong struggle with mental ill-health, including her recent stay in a psychiatric institution


August Blue by Deborah Levy, Hamish Hamilton

A woman chases her double across Europe, in an investigation into fraying identity from the author of The Man Who Saw Everything.

The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng, Canongate

Love and betrayal in early 20th-century Malaysia from the Booker-shortlisted author, inspired by Somerset Maugham’s visit to Penang.

Mister, Mister by Guy Gunaratne, Tinder

Exploring Britishness and unbelonging, the follow-up to In Our Mad and Furious City focuses on “idiot, poet, jihadist, son” Yahya Bas, locked up in a UK detention centre after travelling to war-torn Syria in search of his roots.

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson, Viking

The author of the Costa-winning debut Open Water captures three summers in the life of a young Black man, to highlight father-son relationships, faith, friendship – and the power of dancing.

The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan, W&N

The Irish author follows her comic debut, Exciting Times, with an ensemble novel about commitment and betrayal set around a wedding.

Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang, Borough

Hotly tipped satire of white privilege and identity politics in publishing, from the bestselling YA author of Babel.

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks, Hutchinson Heinemann

How a comic book leads, eight decades on, to a multimillion-dollar superhero movie, in the film actor’s debut novel.

The Story of the Forest by Linda Grant, Virago

From eastern Europe to Liverpool suburbia and postwar Soho, a novel of world events and generational memory from the Women’s prize winner.

Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird by Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses, Pushkin

Short stories from the author of BookTok cannibal phenomenon Tender Is the Flesh.

Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy, Faber

The first novel in a decade from the acclaimed Irish writer focuses on the drama of new motherhood.

The Ferryman by Justin Cronin, Orion

From the author of vampire bestseller The Passage, a new epic about a hidden island paradise which is not what it seems.


Tomorrow Someone Will Arrest You by Meena Kandasamy, Atlantic

The personal is political in a collection reckoning with resistance, freedom, caste and the refugee crisis.

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Brandon Taylor’s second novel is The Late Americans. Photograph: William J Adams/The Observer


On Women by Susan Sontag, Hamish Hamilton

A collection of essays from the 1970s by one of the most influential feminists of the 20th century, gathered together here for the first time.

An Uneasy Inheritance by Polly Toynbee, Atlantic

Toynbee comes from a long line of radicals, reformers and scholars – all of whom have wrestled with the contradictions of being comfortably middle class while trying to further the cause of socialism. She tackles that guilt and awkwardness head on in this frank family history.

American Whitelash: The Resurgence of Racial Violence in Our Time by Wesley Lowery, Allen Lane

The American journalist on white supremacists’ retaliation for the Obama presidency, and how it has led to a moment of great danger in American history.

The Sister: The Extraordinary Story of Kim Yo Jong, the Most Powerful Woman in North Korea by Sung-Yoon Lee, Macmillan

Barely known in the west, Kim Jong-un’s younger sister exerts enormous influence as propagandist-in-chief and second-in-command of the secretive authoritarian regime.

This Is Not America: Why We Need a Different Conversation About Race by Tomiwa Owolade, Atlantic

Writer and critic Owolade argues that American debates about race have been imported wholesale into British life, clouding our understanding of the specific needs and strengths of Black communities here.

Know Your Place by Faiza Shaheen, Simon & Schuster

The Labour parliamentary candidate assesses the chances of someone of her background becoming an MP as being “10 times more unlikely than being struck by lightning”. Here she uses her knowledge of statistics to examine the state of social mobility in Britain today.

Matrescence by Lucy Jones, Allen Lane

A look at what science is revealing about the “physiological and psychological metamorphosis” that takes place during pregnancy, birth and child-rearing.


I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore, Faber

Two exes on a road trip through troubled America open “a trapdoor in reality” in a tragicomic novel about past and present.

The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor, Cape

Follow-up novel to the Booker-shortlisted debut, Real Life, an exploration of love, identity and politics through the connections between a group of lovers and friends.

Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Michael Hofmann, Granta

One couple’s experiences of love and betrayal in Berlin around the fall of the Wall, from the prize-winning German author.

Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan, Cape

A tragedy on a 90s London estate becomes a tabloid scandal centred on an Irish immigrant family in the second novel from the author of Acts of Desperation.

Be Mine by Richard Ford, Bloomsbury

Nearly a decade after Let Me Be Frank With You, this final novel in the Frank Bascombe series finds Frank towards the end of his life, acting as caregiver to his son.

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray, Hamish Hamilton

Tragicomedy about love, family crises and the end of the world from the author of Skippy Dies.

Scattered Love by Maylis Besserie, translated by Clíona Ní Ríordáin, Lilliput

Yell, Sam, If You Still Can recounted the last days of Samuel Beckett; this follow-up features the ghost of WB Yeats.


Verbal Riddim: Dub Poetry 1970–2001, Vintage Classics

The first ever major collection of dub poetry, including Jean “Binta” Breeze, Linton Kwesi Johnson and many more.


Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer by Jeffrey Boakye, Faber

For 9-12, a debut about music and money-making on a 90s estate from the writer and educator.


Short stories from the Booker prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian


Wasteland by Oliver Franklin-Wallis, Simon & Schuster

What happens to what we throw away? Franklin-Wallis, features editor at British GQ, travels to landfills in Ghana, incinerators in Oklahoma and sewers in Britain to expose a sprawling global system in crisis.

Black Ghosts: Encounters With the Africans Changing China by Noo Saro-Wiwa, Canongate

Nigerian writer Saro-Wiwa’s account of a journey through China and the African migrants trying to build a life there.

Seventeen: A Coming of Age Story by Joe Gibson, Gallery

Gibson, writing 30 years on and under a pseudonym, shares the story of his relationship with a teacher twice his age at a major UK private school.

Art Monsters: Unruly Bodies in Feminist Art by Lauren Elkin, Chatto

In a book billed as “part feminist manifesto and part memoir”, Elkin examines female artists including Pussy Riot, Louise Bourgeois and Audre Lorde, celebrating their ability to provoke and disquiet.


The Birth Lottery & Other Surprises by Shehan Karunatilaka, Fleet

Witty and unsettling short stories from last year’s Booker prize winner.

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead, Fleet

A sequel to his New York-set 70s comic heist novel Harlem Shuffle.

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Harvill Secker

A near-future American dystopia about gladiatorial fights in for-profit prisons, from the author of Friday Black.

Corey Fah Does Social Mobility by Isabel Waidner, Hamish Hamilton

Surreal follow-up to the Goldsmiths prize-winning Sterling Karat Gold charts the misadventures of a writer chasing recognition from the “Social Evils prize committee”.

The Black Eden by Richard T Kelly, Faber

From the author of The Knives and Crusaders, a novel of political opportunity and social change focusing on five men amid the discovery of North Sea oil.

No One Prayed Over Their Graves by Khaled Khalifa, translated by Leri Price, Faber

A flood destroys a village near Aleppo at the beginning of the 20th century, in this tale of life and death in Syria at a time of great change.

After the Funeral by Tessa Hadley, Cape

From a master of the short story, a collection teasing out the vast consequences of small events.


Helen Macdonald examines the weaponisation of nostalgia in her SF fantasy thriller, Prophet. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Guardian


Where We Come From by Aniefiok Ekpoudom, Faber

Culture writer Ekpoudom charts the social evolution of British rap and grime, interviewing the artists and listeners who created a uniquely influential scene.

Ootlin by Jenni Fagan, Hutchinson Heinemann

Novelist and poet Fagan writes powerfully about her childhood as a ward of the state, a rootless existence that fostered a fascination with storytelling.

Money by David McWilliams

A sweeping exploration of the meaning and mechanics of money, from the Silk Road to Wall Street, written by the Irish economist and author of The Pope’s Children.


Caret by Adam Mars-Jones, Faber

Set in 1970s Cambridge, a return to the world of idiosyncratic comic hero John Cromer, previously seen in Pilcrow and Cedilla.

The Future Future by Adam Thirlwell, Cape

One woman is pitted against the world in Thirlwell’s latest, billed as “a contemporary novel that somehow takes place in the 18th century”.

Prophet by Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché, Cape

Genre-blending SF fantasy thriller about the weaponisation of nostalgia, from the author of H Is for Hawk and debut novelist Blaché.

The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons by Karin Smirnoff, translated by Sarah Death, MacLehose

A new author takes over Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, as the story moves to the stark expanses of northern Sweden.


Bright Fear by Mary Jean Chan, Faber

Drawing on a Hong Kong childhood, a new collection from the Costa award winner exploring postcolonialism and queer identity.


Rory Stewart’s Power Failures asks where modern politics has gone wrong. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian


Silence All the Noise by Caster Semenya, Merky

The South African Olympic gold medallist tells the story of her life, including the toll taken by the intense international scrutiny of her body and gender.

Catland by Kathryn Hughes, 4th Estate

The story of how Victorian and Edwardian Britain fell in love with cats, from the development of prize breeds to Louis Wain’s artistic obsession.

Minority Rule by Ash Sarkar, Bloomsbury

An examination of the way British Conservatives and American Republicans have stoked fears of a “takeover” by marginalised groups.

Memoir by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Chatto

The British-Iranian woman wrongly imprisoned in Iran between 2016 and 2022 writes about her incarceration and the fight to get her out.

Sonic Life: A Memoir by Thurston Moore, Faber

From coming of age in 70s New York to creating one of the most influential bands of his era with then-partner Kim Gordon, the Sonic Youth frontman tells the story of his life.

Emperor of Rome by Mary Beard, Profile

A sweeping history of the Roman emperors, from the brilliant to the debauched, by Britain’s best-known classicist.

Talking to My Father by Yanis Varoufakis, Bodley Head

An incisive critique of the current dominant economic model, “technofeudalism”, written in the form of a letter from Greece’s ex-minister of finance to his late father.

Power Failures by Rory Stewart, Cape

A no-holds-barred account of what’s gone wrong with modern politics, from the outspoken former Conservative minister.


The Fraud by Zadie Smith, Hamish Hamilton

An enslaved man becomes a star witness in the Tichborne trial, in a novel about deception and hypocrisy inspired by real events in Victorian London and Jamaica.

The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright, Cape

The Booker winner follows three generations of an Irish family, from the 70s to the present day, in a “meditation on love: spiritual, romantic, darkly sexual or genetic”, combining poetry, adventure and the resilience of women.

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff, Hutchinson Heinemann

From the author of Fates and Furies and Matrix, a 17th-century “female Robinson Crusoe” in which a young English servant flees from a starving colonial encampment into the American wilderness.

The Glutton by AK Blakemore, Granta

The follow-up to her prize-winning debut The Manningtree Witches is a dark story of “insatiable hunger” set in revolutionary France.

The Door of No Return by David Diop, translated by Sam Taylor, Pushkin

Coming after his International Booker-winning At Night All Blood Is Black, Diop’s latest novel, set in the 18th century, tells of how a French naturalist travels through a Senegal ravaged by the slave trade.

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron, John Murray

Standalone novel from the author of the bestselling Slough House series about washed-up spies.

Absolutely and Forever by Rose Tremain, Chatto

Set in the second half of the 20th century, a tale of thwarted love.

Beasts of England by Adam Biles, Galley Beggar

This irreverent sequel to Animal Farm sets out to skewer the inequalities of contemporary Britain.

Untitled by Sebastian Faulks, Hutchinson Heinemann

Based around a mishap in a London fertility clinic, Faulks’s new novel promises romance and mystery.

Weirdo by Sara Pascoe, Faber

Comedian’s debut novel about an awkward woman looking for love.


The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson, Norton

Following her celebrated version of the Odyssey, a “galloping” translation of Homer’s martial epic, which was a decade in the making.


Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell, Bloomsbury

The beginning of a new fantasy series for 8-12, in which children travel to a magical archipelago filled with mythical creatures.

In the Shadow of the Wolf Queen by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Orion

First volume in an epic trilogy about nature, magic and love.


Clare Balding explores Britain’s relationships with dogs. Photograph: John Walton/PA


In the Name of the Mother: Daphne’s Sons and a Quest for Justice by Paul Caruana Galizia, Profile

An urgent account of the life of Caruana Galizia’s mother Daphne, the assassinated Maltese journalist known for her work exposing corruption.

Around The World in 80 Games by Marcus du Sautoy, 4th Estate

What makes some games world-beating, while others simply don’t travel? The mathematician and professor of the public understanding of science goes in search of answers.

Isle of Dogs by Clare Balding, Ebury

The broadcaster on how Britons’ relationships with dogs has influenced the country’s history and culture.

Untitled memoir by Jada Pinkett Smith, 4th Estate

From a difficult upbringing in Baltimore to her tumultuous marriage to Will Smith, the actor and talkshow host shares lessons learned.

A Therapeutic Journey by Alain de Botton, Hamish Hamilton

The author and philosopher presents a guide to mental wellbeing informed by 15 years of involvement in the School of Life.


Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford, Faber

From the author of Golden Hill and Light Perpetual, a detective story set amid the speakeasies of an alternative 1920s America.

The Maniac by Benjamín Labatut, Pushkin

When We Cease to Understand the World explored the far edges of scientific discovery; this is another genre-blending mix based around the polymath Johnny von Neumann, who worked on the Manhattan project.

The Night-Side of the River by Jeanette Winterson, Cape

Spooky stories for Halloween, along with “real-life encounters with the occult”.

Julia by Sandra Newman, Granta

A feminist retelling of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, as seen from the perspective of Winston Smith’s lover Julia.

Tremor by Teju Cole, Faber

From the author of Open City, one man’s creative, personal and professional life in the lead up to the pandemic.


The Lights by Ben Lerner, Granta

A new collection by the author of The Topeka School.


A mysterious tale from Mike McCormack. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian


Depraved New World by John Crace, Faber

The Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer attempts to make sense of the dizzying politics of post-Brexit Britain, from the ousting of Boris Johnson onwards.

Property by Rowan Moore, Faber

Private property has traditionally been seen as the bedrock of free societies, but is our fetishisation of it creating misery, unfairness and instability?


This Plague of Souls by Mike McCormack, Canongate

From the author of the prizewinning Solar Bones comes the tale of an Irish man who returns home from a mysterious trial to his family house, only to find it deserted.

Shot With Crimson by Nicola Upson, Faber

The latest in the historical cosy crime series starring crime novelist Josephine Tey, this time set around the filming of Hitchcock’s Rebecca.


School of Instructions by Ishion Hutchinson, Faber

A book-length poem about the experience of West Indian soldiers in the first world war.