Happy International Women’s Day! Every single email I have had to day has been purple and waving flags (apart from New Look – they were just advertising sloganed tees – not even empowering slogans sadly). And my weekly Waterstones email reminded me that the Women’s Fiction Prize longlist has been announced! I feel like the 2017 Bailey’s prize has barely been and gone, but no, that was actually last Summer! Time flies when you’re reading lots!
I initially had a nice post about my favourite female authors (a much longer list than my favourite male authors, I have found), but when I remembered the
Baileys Prize longlist was being announced, I decided to shelve it in favour of talking about the longlist.
Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction is an annual event where female writers are pitched in for the title of best book written by a woman of the year. Basically. Last year, it was sponsored by Bailey’s, this year Baileys are sharing the sponsorship with Natwest and Deloitte (But I’ll confess I keep calling it the Baileys prize. It isn’t – it’s the Women’s prize).
To find out more about the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the website is linked here.
There is a panellist of women from Radio 4 presenters to actors and they have the tough/fun challenge of narrowing down all the amazing books published by women into a longlist of SIXTEEN! On the 23rd April, that list becomes a shortlist of six. then, on the 6th of June, with much fanfare, the winner is announced. Last year’s winner was Naomi Alderman’s The Power (You can read my review here) and it’s pretty awesome. However, I will not dwell too much on past winners – now you have a brief know-how of the prize, it’s time to look at the longlist!
First off, I’m going to go through and count how many I know/have heard of…four?! BEA THAT IS SHOCKING. I have read none of them yet. I’m going to have to list them so you know what I am talking about (I’ve also put a star next to the one’s I’ve heard of):
H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon*
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar*
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy*
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
We’ve got a few second novels on there – the one that stands out to me is the Arhundati Roy. I had to read God of Small Things (her Man Booker Prize Winner and up until last year only novel) and perhaps it was because I was studying it as a companion text rather than as a main text, but I wasn’t really a fan. I am curious about what this book is about, and whether or not it has the piecemeal narrative style too…
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is probably going to make it onto the shortlist. It’s already won the Costa prize, and everyone I know who has read it has said that it was really good. (I am calling this as a shortlister now. Revisit in a few months to see if I am wrong!)
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock has a simply breathtaking cover, and I must confess I very nearly broke the book ban to buy it from the gorgeous Blackwell’s display the other day. I didn’t even look at what it was about. It was definitely a case of judging a book by it’s cover! Seriously, look at it! I promise it looks even better in real life.
The Trick to Time sounds like it might be interesting – I mean, is it actually about time travel though? (*Googles*) OK, no time travel, but it’s about love, grief and memory and that’s one for the TBR pile… you know what? I’m gonna go ahead and add all of them to my TBR pile.
If I read one a week (very ambitious, but say I did), starting next week, would I finish in time for the winner? Ok, I just checked it off on my calendar, and the short answer is no. I would, however, finish by the end of June. Which is none too shabby. But, ah, I am going on holiday and I’ll be taking my kindle not physical books… alright, I have to revise this:-
I aim to read all sixteen longlisted Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018 novels by the end of 2018.
This is going to be an interesting and quite possibly expensive challenge… I’m going to tag it as the #Womensprize18bigread I think… so, watch this space!
Which one should I start with!