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The best books to read in 2023, from Prince Harry’s memoir to Zadie Smith’s new novel

Get ready to race through some thrilling books in 2023, with heavily anticipated memoirs and new releases from big-name novelists. Jessie Thompson picks some of the most exciting upcoming reads

Wednesday 04 January 2023 06:33 GMT
Zadie Smith, Deborah Levy, Salman Rushdie, Prince Harry and Elliot Page will all release books in 2023
Zadie Smith, Deborah Levy, Salman Rushdie, Prince Harry and Elliot Page will all release books in 2023 (Getty/The Independent)

Twelve more months, many more books. This year promises juicy memoirs, the return of several heavyweight novelists and some enticing debuts. Read on for our guide to what to read in 2023.

Spare by Prince Harry

Since stepping down as a senior royal, Prince Harry has made it clear he wants to follow in his mother’s footsteps wherever possible. Is his provocatively titled memoir his attempt at an Andrew Morton-style hand grenade? After quitting the fam, he can now at least put his own name on the cover. But, after hours of self-aggrandising content from Haz and Megs on Netflix and Spotify, the public’s patience may be starting to wear thin. Whether the heavily trailed memoir, apparently written “not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become”, will be as inflammatory as expected is yet to be seen.

10 January

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

The world was shocked when novelist Salman Rushdie, a lifelong campaigner for free speech, was attacked on stage at an event this year. After years of living under a fatwa, Rushdie had recently said that his life had started to feel “normal” again. The publication of his 14th novel – the first since the incident happened – is bound to see the literary world embrace one of its most important figureheads.

9 February

Eleanor Catton releases her long-awaited follow up to ‘The Luminaries’ (Granta Books)

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

Early word is that the latest novel from New Zealand writer Eleanor Catton – her first since the 2014 Booker-winner The Luminaries – is a corker. It’s a psychological thriller about an activist “guerrilla gardening group”; Monty Don meets Extinction Rebellion.

2 March

Why Women Grow by Alice Vincent

What makes women turn to the soil? In the beautifully written third book from Alice Vincent, creator of the must-follow gardening Instagram account noughticulture, women around the country open up their gardens and talk about what draws them to the natural world.

2 March

Flower power: Alice Vincent talks with women about their connection to the natural world (Canongate Books)

Don’t Think, Dear by Alice Robb

This memoir from Alice Robb, a former student of the School of American Ballet, attempts to unpick the extreme physical – and psychological – demands asked of ballet dancers. Weaving together Robb’s own story with her fellow students and ballet icons such as Misty Copeland and Margot Fonteyn, it’s an overdue contemporary re-examination of this gruelling artform.

2 March

Paris: The Memoir by Paris Hilton

That’s hot. Two decades after setting the template for a new kind of celebrity, Paris Hilton is publishing a memoir about her life. Her book will look back on being a young female celebrity in the pre-#MeToo era, as well as her experience with undiagnosed ADHD.

14 March

Rosewater by Liv Little

Elsie, 28, is tired – working a low-wage job, living at the mercy of the London housing market. This debut novel from gal-dem founder Liv Little is a highly relevant look at millennial life in the city, and has also been described as “a modern Black British love story”.

20 April

Liv Little explores millennial life in London (Little, Brown)

August Blue by Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy, beloved by the bougie literary scene, follows her triumphant living biography series with a new novel about a woman who discovers her living double. Levy is the patron saint of the contemporary uncanny; expect the language to be evocative and the questions to be searching.

4 May

Pageboy by Elliot Page

When he announced the publication of his memoir, Elliot Page admitted that he had been asked to write about his life several times before – but only recently felt able to do so. The Oscar-nominated star of Juno, who came out as a transgender man in 2020, has apparently written a tender, candid account of his life so far, including “behind the scenes details” plus “intimate interrogations on sex, love, trauma and Hollywood”.

6 June

Hollywood star and transgender man Elliot Page gives a candid account his life so far (Doubleday)

The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble

When you’re dating someone but you don’t fully know what the score is, it’s a “situationship”. It’s also the scenario between Tia and Nate, the characters at the heart of Taylor-Dior Rumble’s debut novel and the first romcom to be published by Stormzy’s imprint, #Merky Books.

17 August

The Fraud by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s first novel since 2016’s delectable Swing Time is also the first time she’s written historical fiction. It’s based on an actual (and sensational) Victorian trial, in which a man claimed to be Sir Robert Tichborne, a baronet believed to have perished in a shipwreck. The stranger-than-fiction story will feature a host of real-life characters, from Eliza Touchet, an acquaintance of Charles Dickens, to Andrew Bogle, a former slave turned major witness in the trial.

7 September

Jada Pinkett Smith memoir

Her husband made all the headlines in 2022 after the now infamous Oscar slap, but Jada Pinkett Smith will be telling her side of the story in a “no-holds-barred” memoir, due out in the autumn. It will detail everything from her upbringing to mental health struggles, as well as her “complicated marriage” to Will Smith.


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