The year in Prospect: staff picks of 2022

The team choose their favourite reads published by the magazine over the past 12 months
December 28, 2022

Alan Rusbridger, editor

I’m going to nominate Ethan Zuckerman’s column as pick of the year, all 10 of them. The digital world is in revolution; it can be hard for those of us with our noses against the window looking in to make sense of it. Ethan is deeply knowledgeable, and open to new ideas and ways of thinking—which he combines with an enviable simplicity and clarity. He’s also a humane voice, always looking for the human dimension in a hard-edged technical world. For me, he’s essential reading.

Ellen Halliday, deputy editor

In December, Bryony Worthington and Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans joined us on the Prospect Podcast to talk about the place of nuclear power in the UK’s future energy mix. It’s a highly technical issue, but one that’s so relevant as we tackle climate change and try to protect our energy sources from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Bryony and Simon did a brilliant job of highlighting the opportunities and explaining the challenges we’ve yet to overcome.

Alex Dean, managing editor

Liz Truss’s infamous mini-budget was based on a fundamentally wrongheaded assessment of the UK’s economic woes. But she was right that it does face woes, and right to identify low growth among them. Around the time Truss took office, Will Hutton presented an alternative set of solutions, based not on unfunded tax cuts for the rich but smart, properly directed investment into the UK’s productive strength. To escape the trap of relative economic decline the UK should focus on boosting infrastructure and skills—and crucially, repair its relationship with Europe.

Peter Hoskin, books & culture editor

I’m not always given to ancestor worship. But, gosh, my predecessor in the books & culture role at Prospect, Sameer Rahim, was tremendously good at his job. His essay on Salman Rushdie was a brilliant tribute to a man who had just been violently assaulted on a New York stage, as well as a clear-eyed analysis of The Satanic Verses, ranging across both the good and the bad of that particular book. Read it, listen to the accompanying podcast, and then await Rushdie’s next novel, Victory City, out in February.

David McAllister, production & associate editor

Back in our June issue, veteran foreign correspondent Hella Pick recounted her career following some of the great diplomatic power plays of the 20th century, after arriving in the UK as a child aboard the Kindertransport in 1939. Pick, who became a reporter at the height of the Cold War, highlights some of the chilling parallels between that period and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine today. She draws on personal experience to show why we must never let history repeat itself.

Chris Tilbury, head of digital

The Wagatha Christie story seemed to captivate everyone back in 2019, as Coleen Rooney accused Rebekah Vardy of leaking stories about her and her family to the press. It took several years for the case to make it to court, where judges ultimately ruled in Rooney’s favour. David Allen Green’s unpicking of the legal arguments presented by either side—and the reasons why the case should never have made it to court in the first place—was a great example of how Prospect can cover fast-moving news topics in an engaging way.

Fiona Fowler, head of finance

In Prospect’s July issue, Tilly Lawless broke apart the stigma around prostitution by sharing her own experiences as a sex worker, delving into the reasons why people pay for sex and exposing how differently prostitution is treated across the world. Empathetic, insightful and thought-provoking, Tilly’s writing does an excellent job of exposing the raw humanness at the heart of those who provide and seek paid sexual services.

Emily Lawford, assistant editor

My pick of the year is Samuel Moyn’s essay from our May issue, “How to stop a new Cold War”. Amid a lot of coverage clamouring for the west to become more aggressive, he sounded an eloquent warning note. I'm not sure I agree with him, but it was a case that needed to be made.

Sarah Collins, assistant editor

One piece that stood out to me was an essay by Bastian Berbner and John Goetz from our June issue, “What happened in Guantanamo”, where they tracked down Mr X, the man who tortured former prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and set up a virtual conversation between the two men. Not only is it impressive reporting and a beautiful piece of writing—it is also a moving account of the horrors of the war on terror. 

Mike Turner, creative director

I’d find it way too difficult to pick one essay from the huge range of topics we’ve featured over the past 12 months. Instead, I’m going to choose a cartoon by Stephen Collins. One that stands out to me in particular is the full-page strip he did for our summer special issue, titled “Tory Planet”, where he likened the Conservative leadership race to an episode of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. Stephen nails the characteristics and is a master of timing and pauses; he can deliver so much joy through such a small collection of frames. He’s ace.