Catriona Fida gives us the lowdown on this years Women’s Prize for Fiction longest before the release of the shortlist on 22nd April.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most esteemed literary award celebrating fiction by women authors. Now in its 25th year, the award is back and the longlist has been announced!
In curating the list, the judges have recognised certain overlapping themes in this year’s longlist, including topics such as identity, migration and tense political climates. It has been recorded that judge chair, Martha Lane Fox, read a whopping 152 novels before narrowing down the final list to 16. Joining Martha on the judging panel are writer and activist Scarlett Curtis, writer and activist Melanie Eusebe, co-founder of the Black British Business Awards and author, Viv Groskop, and Paula Hawkins, international bestselling author.
Here is a list of the 16 titles that have been nominated for this year’s longlist:
- Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
- Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
- Dominicana by Angie Cruz
- Actress by Anne Enright
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
- A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
- How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
- The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
- The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
- Girl by Edna O’ Brien
- Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
- Weather by Jenny Offill
- The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
- Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Now onto my thoughts. In all honesty, I would love to see Bernadine Evaristo win this one. Not only is Girl, Woman, Other one of my favourite books of all time, but I also think with the Booker Prize fiasco now firmly in the past, Evaristo definitely deserves to win a prize she doesn’t have to share.
If Girl Woman Other isn’t to win, then I would really hope that one of the ‘newcomers’ does. Of course, I believe the prize should be awarded to the best book, but prizes like the Women’s Prize offer amazing opportunities for debut and lesser-known authors to boost sales and promote their personal brand. While I have not yet read any of the other novels, Queenie, Girl and Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line are on my ‘to be read’ list and I’ve heard a lot of great things about all three.
In particular, Carty-Williams’ Queenie is a book that has taken the world by storm since it was first published a year ago. For its popularity on social media alone, it should be up there in the shortlist. Similarly, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a debut novel from Anappara which has already been widely praised (since being published in January) for how it manages to convey real injustice, whilst still being funny and immersive. Out of all the books on the longlist, to me, this one sounds the most unique.
Amongst these newer authors, there were also quite a few established authors that made the list. For example, Hilary Mantel has previously won the Booker prize twice for her historical trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell and so has Anne Enright with her novel, Actress. The longlist also features Ann Pratchett, who previously won the Women’s prize in 2002 with her novel, Bel Canto.
The shortlist will be announced on 22 April and the winner, who will receive a cheque for £30,000, on 3 June.
Featured image by Frankie Stevens