- United Kingdom
- Simon Leser
- UK Literary Editor
Worth £30,000 ($37,500), the Women’s Prize for Fiction has, despite its relatively short history, quickly risen to become one of the most reputed and important British literary awards. Previous winners include Eimear McBride in 2014 (whose latest novel, The Lesser Bohemians, was included in this year’s longlist), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun in 2007, and Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin in 2005—all writers whose careers were greatly helped by the prize.
The shortlist this year includes one Nigerian, two North American and three British authors. Linda Grant, a previous winner of the Prize in 2000, returns to the shortlist with her sixth novel, The Dark Circle, which is set in England shortly after the end of the World War II and follows a tubercular brother and sister trapped in a sanatorium.
Other notable nominees include Madeleine Thien, whose epic novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing chronicles a family’s history during and after the Cultural Revolution in China; it was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year. Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, meanwhile, is the only debut novelist on the shortlist—set in Nigeria, her gripping work Stay With Me follows the disintegration of a marriage under the combined weight of illnesses, strict social codes, and betrayals. You can read our interview with the writer here.
The full shortlist goes as follows:
. Stay With Me, by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Nigeria)
. The Power, by Naomi Alderman (UK)
. The Dark Circle, by Linda Grant (UK)
. The Sport of Kings, by C.E. Morgan (US)
. First Love, by Gwendoline Riley (UK)
. Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien (Canada)
The Orange Prize—as it was formerly known—has for the past 22 years been awarded every year to a full-length work of fiction written in English by a woman, and chosen by a jury composed entirely of women (this year, they are Aminatta Forna, Katie Derham, Tessa Ross, Sam Baker, and Sara Pascoe). Tessa Ross, who chaired the judges, had this to say on the selection:
“It has been a great privilege to Chair the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in a year which has proved exceptional for writing of both quality and originality. It was therefore quite a challenge to whittle this fantastic longlist of 16 books down to only six. From Kentucky in the 19th century to a dystopian future to a post-war sanatorium in the English countryside to 1980s Nigeria, the shortlist celebrates narratives that are daring and intimate, that examine the depth of human experience in unique and compelling ways. We were both impressed and moved by memorable characters from a young woman fleeing her home in China to a writer coming to terms with her failing marriage. These were the six novels that stayed with all of us well beyond the final page.”
More information HERE.