Today the 20 book long list for the ‘ Women’s prize For Fiction was announced. As the criteria states these are all full length novels published between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015 written in English by a woman.
There are so many wonderful female writers out there and as someone that, albeit unintentionally, primarily reads female authors I’m hugely in favour of anything that celebrates women’s writing and creativity.
The ‘ prize is a wonderful way of promoting the work of both well established female authors and first timers. Last years winner was Eimear McBride for her debut novel ‘A Girl is a Half Formed Thing’. This prize did so much not just for Eimear but also for her loyal Norfolk based publishing house Galley Beggar Press. It was a fitting reward for her publishers who had believed in her long before she was discovered by the wider literary world.
This years lists consists of 13 British authors, two Americans, two Canadians, one Pakistani/British writer, one Chinese/British, and one British/American. I’m thrilled to see one of my favourite authors Anne Tyler on the list. I’m also happy to see Sarah Waters and Ali Smith included, both authors I have read and enjoyed. I’ve been meaning to read Emma Healey’s ‘Elizabeth Is Missing’ for a while, and I love the sound of Rachel Cusk’s ‘Outline’.
The judges, chaired by Shami Chakrabarti are now tasked with the job of whittling 20 down to 6. Last year I had a thought that I would read the final 6 and apart from ‘A Girl is a Half Formed Thing’ which was probably my most startling read of 2014 (reviewed here), I failed miserably. This year I hope to do better and when I have completed my current read will work my way through at least some of those on the Long List, before the winner is announced on 3rd June.
These are those that made the final cut:
Rachel Cusk: Outline
Lissa Evans: Crooked Heart
Patricia Ferguson: Aren’t We Sisters?
Xiaolu Guo: I Am China
Samantha Harvey: Dear Thief
Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing
Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven
Grace McCleen: The Offering
Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star
Heather O’Neil: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night
Laline Paull: The Bees
Marie Phillips: The Table of Less Valued Knights
Rachel Seiffert: The Walk Home
Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone
Ali Smith: How to be Both
Sara Taylor: The Shore
Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread
Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests
Jemma Wayne: After Before
PP Wong: The Life of a Banana
Have you read many of those on the Long List? Which would you recommend?