Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announces longlist of nominees

Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announced the longlist of 16 nominees for the prestigious literary award. The prize is for a full-length work of fiction in English by a woman anywhere in the world (previously, the award had been limited to writers from the UK and Commonwealth nations).

This year’s finalists include well-known authors such as Margaret Atwood, Mary Gaitskill, and Annie Proulx, and debut novelists like Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀, Emma Flint, and Fiona Melrose. Past winners Linda Grant, Eimear McBride, and Rose Tremain return to the longlist as well. This year’s nominees hail from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, and Nigeria.

The selections were made by an all-female panel of judges: CEO of House Productions Tessa Ross, broadcaster Katie Derham, comedian Sara Pascoe, writer Aminatta Forna, and journalist Sam Baker.

“The judges had a large number of books of extraordinary quality to choose from this year, and so I can’t say that it was an easy process to come up with a list as short as 16,” said Ross. “However, we’re all thrilled by where we’ve ended up and truly excited by the quality and range of talent on this year’s longlist. It’s a great showcase for the very best contemporary women’s fiction – we hope that it will inspire readers everywhere.”

The shortlist of six novels will be revealed on April 5, with the winner to be announced at a ceremony on June 7. The winner will receive 30,000 GBP (USD $36,465).

The nominees:

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀, Stay With Me

Naomi Alderman, The Power

Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed

Emma Flint, Little Deaths

Mary Gaitskill, The Mare

Linda Grant, The Dark Circle

Eimear McBride, The Lesser Bohemians

Fiona Melrose, Midwinter

C.E. Morgan, The Sport of Kings

Yewande Omotoso, The Woman Next Door

Heather O’Neill, The Lonely Hearts Hotel

Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent

Annie Proulx, Barkskins

Gwendoline Riley, First Love

Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Rose Tremain, The Gustav Sonata


Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction finalists announced

11th April 2016: The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction announces its 2016 shortlist, comprised of 6 books that celebrate the best of fiction written by women

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist has been announced. The Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, celebrates excellence, originality, and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world.

Making the cut from the longlist of 20 books are:

Ruby  Cynthia Bond credit Jay Harris (1)

Cynthia Bond — Ruby

The Green Road  AnneEnright

Anne Enright — The Green Road

Glorious Heresies  Lisa McInerney photo FINAL

Lisa McInerney — The Glorious Heresies

Portable Veblen  Elizabeth McKenzie credit Linda Ozaki

Elizabeth McKenzie — The Portable Veblen

Improbability of Love  Hannah Rothschild credit Harry Cory Wright

Hannah Rothschild — The Improbability of Love

A Little Life  Hanya Yanagihara credit Jenny Westerhoff

Hanya Yanagihara — A Little Life

“Our choices reflect a really diverse mix of brilliant writing from new and established authors around the world and we hope that everyone will find much to enjoy in them,” commented Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford.

Syl Saller, Chief Marketing Officer of Diageo, the parent company of Baileys, added, “What a range of beautifully crafted and excellent stories originating from Ireland to Texas – the judges have selected a truly exciting range of novels for this year’s shortlist. In partnership with the Women’s Prize, Baileys is thrilled to celebrate these inspiring female authors and bring the pleasure of their writing to readers across the world.”

The winner will be presented with a check for £30,000 (US$42,645) and a limited edition bronze statue known as “the Bessie,” created by artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

The award ceremony will take place in The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, on June 8.

The 2016 finalists are from the U.S. (Bond, McKenzie, and Yanagihara), the U.K. (Rothschild), and Ireland (Enright and McInerney).

Previous winners are: Ali Smith for How to be Both (2015), Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (2014), A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven (2013), Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles (2012), Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (2010), Marilynne Robinson for Home (2009), Rose Tremain for The Road Home (2008), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004), Valerie Martin for Property (2003), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (2002), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), Linda Grant for When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), Suzanne Berne for A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999), Carol Shields for Larry’s Party (1998), Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997), and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).

The judges for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction are:

Margaret Mountford (Chair), Lawyer and Businesswoman

Naga Munchetty, Broadcast Journalist

Laurie Penny, Writer and Journalist

Elif Shafak, Author

Tracey Thorn, Writer and Singer


The 2016 longlist included:

Kate Atkinson: A God in Ruins

Shirley Barrett: Rush Oh!

Cynthia Bond: Ruby

Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord

Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Jackie Copleton: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

Rachel Elliott: Whispers Through a Megaphone

Anne Enright: The Green Road

Petina Gappah: The Book of Memory

Vesna Goldsworthy: Gorsky

Clio Gray: The Anatomist’s Dream

Melissa Harrison: At Hawthorn Time

Attica Locke: Pleasantville

Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies

Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen

Sara Nović: Girl at War

Julia Rochester: The House at the Edge of the World

Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love

Elizabeth Strout: My Name is Lucy Barton

Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life

2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist announced

Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, the organizers of the prestigious UK-based Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction have announced the 20-book longlist of nominees.

In announcing the nominees, Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford commented, “We had a hugely enjoyable and stimulating meeting, as there were a great many strong novels in contention. We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer.”

Notably, more than half the books are debut novels, while four are by authors who have made the shortlist of six novels in the past. If some of the titles are unfamiliar to you, that is because they have only been released in the UK.

The shortlist will be announced on April 11, and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony held in the Royal Festival Hall on June 8th.

The longlist:

A God in Ruins  Kate Atkinson: A God in Ruins

Rush Oh!  Shirley Barrett: Rush Oh!

Ruby  Cynthia Bond: Ruby

Secret Chord  Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord

Long Way to a Small Angry Planet  Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Dictionary of Mutual Understanding  Jackie Copleton: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

Whispers Through a Megaphone  Rachel Elliott: Whispers Through a Megaphone

The Green Road  Anne Enright: The Green Road

The_Book_of_Memory  Petina Gappah: The Book of Memory

Gorsky  Vesna Goldsworthy: Gorsky

Anatomist's Dream  Clio Gray: The Anatomist’s Dream

At Hawthorn Time  Melissa Harrison: At Hawthorn Time

Pleasantville  Attica Locke: Pleasantville

Glorious Heresies  Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies

Portable Veblen  Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen

Girl at War  Sara Nović: Girl at War [see my review here]

House at the Edge of the World  Julia Rochester: The House at the Edge of the World

Improbability of Love  Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love

My Name is Lucy Barton  Elizabeth Strout: My Name is Lucy Barton

A Little Life  Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist announced


The shortlist of six finalists for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced today in London. The prize is the UK’s only book award for fiction written by a woman.

The five judges have selected Outline by Rachel Cusk, The Bees by Laline Paull, A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie, How to Be Both by Ali Smith, A Spool of Blue  Thread by Anne Tyler, and The Paying Guests by Sarah Walters.

The finalists were chosen from a longlist of 20 books.

“Short-listing for the 2015 Baileys Prize was the fantasy book club of a lifetime,” said  chair of judges Shami Chakrabarti. “The novels we shared and the shortlist we ultimately honour form a body of great women’s writing to entertain and inspire for many years to come.”

The major surprise of this year’s shortlist is the omission of the much-admired Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which many amateur prognosticators tapped to win the award (it was a finalist for the National Book Award). Samantha Harvey’s Dear Thief also has many fervent supporters.

The judges will now choose a winner, to be announced at an awards ceremony at Royal Festival Hall in London on June 3.

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist announced

How-to-be-both-US-647x1024  StationElevenNorthAmericaHiRes    I Am China  The Country of Ice Cream Star  A Spool of Blue Thread  The Bees

The judges committee for one of the most-anticipated awards in the literary fiction world, the UK’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, has announced the longlist of 20 titles for the 2015 award.

According to The Guardian, Committee chair Shami Chakrabarti introduced this year’s nominees by saying, “I think we need to keep celebrating women’s fiction. We need to celebrate women generally and there’s nothing more powerful than stories.  We need to celebrate stories by women, for women, as just one more way to redress gender injustice.”

This year’s longlist includes well-known writers such as Ali Smith (for How to Be Both), Sarah Waters (for The Paying Guests), and Anne Tyler (for A Spool of Blue Thread), as well as debut novelists like Emma Healey (whose Elizabeth is Missing won the Costa Award), Laline Paull (for The Bees, a thrilling dystopian tale set in a beehive), and PP Wong (whose “The Life of a Banana” explores how it feels to be “yellow on the outside and white on the inside”).

Another nominees of note is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which was a National Book Awards finalist and bestseller. Coincidentally, Mandel was named  a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award today (along with Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation and Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen).

The prize is open to novels written in English and published in the UK and was created to reward “excellence, originality and accessibility” in writing. The judges read 165 books, which they narrowed down to 20. The list of six finalists will be announced on April 13, and the award ceremony will be held in London on June 3.

Chakrabarti spoke extensively on the need for and value in the Women’s Prize, as well as about gender issues in publishing.

“We are still nowhere near where we should be,” she said. “I also don’t think women are getting their due in other literary prizes. I am still surprised at some of the lists and comments made by judges and chairs of judges elsewhere, so I don’t think it’s time to end a women’s prize.

“Literature ought to be further on than it is, given how long women have been writing brilliant stuff,” she continued. “It’s just hilarious to me that we should target a women’s book prize … at a time when women are much further back than they should be, not just in publishing but in politics, economics, health care. I think there is still work to do and there’s an ocean of talent to be discussed and shared and celebrated, and this is one way of doing it.”

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

Outline by Rachel Cusk – British – 8th novel

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans – British – 4th novel

Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson – British – 8th novel

I Am China by Xiaolu Guo – Chinese/ British – 6th novel

Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey – British – 3rd novel

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey – British – 1st novel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Canadian – 4th novel

The Offering by Grace McCleen – British – 3rd novel

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman – British/American – 3rd novel

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill – Canadian – 2nd novel

The Bees by Laline Paull – British – 1st novel

The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips – British – 2nd Novel

The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert – British – 3rd novel

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie – Pakistani/British – 6th novel

How to be Both by Ali Smith — British – 6th novel

The Shore by Sara Taylor – American – 1st novel

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne  Tyler – American – 20th novel

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – British – 6th novel

After Before by Jemma Wayne – British – 1st novel

The Life of a Banana by PP Wong – British – 1st novel


Boston Globe article examines issue of gender bias in book cover art


The issue of gender bias in cover art on women-authored novels is discussed in a recent Boston Globe story, “Cover girls: How lipstick, bathing suits, and naked backs discredit women’s fiction” (June 28, 2014).

Globe writer Eugenia Williamson examines publishers’ continuing insistence on placing overtly feminine images on book covers in an attempt to win over female readers. This preference guarantees that men will stay away in droves and that serious literary fiction by women will have a difficult time being taken seriously, particularly when it comes to awards and other honors. Williamson discusses recent panels analyzing the issue and quotes novelist Gish Jen and Grove Atlantic vice president and executive editor Elisabeth Schmitz. Even 2013 Nobel Prize-winner Alice Munro’s short story collections are victimized by these silly ultra-feminine “romance novel” covers. The View from Castle Rock, her 2006 collection based on her family’s immigration from Scotland to Canada in the 18th century, features a headless woman in a one-piece bathing suit lying on a towel. As the young folks say, WTF?

Williamson also points out that the shortlisted nominees for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) features books with gender-neutral covers featuring large text and mostly shades of brown or blue. No headless women or views of women’s backs as they look out a window or down the beach.

Encouraging signs include the improvements achieved through the publicity created by the VIDA Count and some recent book covers, such as Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs, Roxana Robinson’s Sparta, Molly Antopol’s The UnAmericans, Porochista Khakpour’s The Last Illusion, Laura McBride’s We Are Called to Rise, Robin Black’s Life Drawing, and Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You. 

Now, if we can just get Alice Munro’s book covers to match her serious content.

Sparta cover art  The UnAmericans   The Last Illusion  We Are Called to Rise  Life Drawing   Everything I Never Told You

Short list announced for prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction






AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Hay festival 2012

Final Lowland cover.indd  jhumpa-lahiri

burialrites  Hannah Kent

the undertaking  Audrey Magee

half formed thing  Eimear McBride

The judging committee for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announced the short list of six novels, narrowed down from the long list of 20 titles, on Monday, April 7 in London. The favorites to win the most prestigious award for women’s fiction are Donna Tartt for her epic coming of age tale, The Goldfinch, which too ten years to write, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for her story of African immigrants adapting to life in the U.S., Americanah. Adichie won the award for her previous novel, Half of a Yellow Sky, in 2007, when it was known as the Orange Prize. She was born and raised in Nigeria but attended college at Drexel University in Philadelphia and Eastern Connecticut State University, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2001. Other finalists include Jhumpa Lahiri for her story of two brothers and the woman they both loved, The Lowland; Hannah Kent for her debut novel set in 19th century Iceland, Burial Rites; Audrey Magee for The Undertaking, set in Berlin during WWII; and Eimear McBride for her challenging debut, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. McBride has already won the Goldsmiths Prize for 2013 for the novel.

Interestingly, there are no British (English, Scottish, or Welsh) writers on the short list. Tartt is American, Lahiri was born in England to Indian parents but raised in the U.S.; Kent is Australian; and Magee and McBride are Irish. Four of the books are available in the U.S., but he Magee and McBride novels won’t be published here until September 2014.

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on June 4.