The Women's Prize for Fiction 2013 Shortlist

Bookish Stuff / Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

1579084251eP+WiFpiL12611253 So here they are.  The Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced today at the London Book Fair.  The longlist was competitive and somewhat diversified, but the shortlist competition is even stiffer.  I was happily surprised to see that Where’d You Go, Bernadette made it to the shortlist, after having read so much about it not being serious enough to be nominated or win a literary prize because of its modern epistolary form.  If you read    135378911606173413507212my review you know I loved it and found it refreshing and well-balanced.  I haven’t read the others but they have all been moved up to the top of my TBR for 2013.  The only real disappointment with the longlist is that it didn’t contain more women writers of colour.  Although I was thrilled to see Zadie Smith’s NW on the shortlist.  I enjoy her “keep it real” writing.  I’m anxious to read this one since the reviews have been mixed.  I’m expecting NW to pull me completely out of my comfort zone.  I probably won’t get to Bring Up the Bodies this year since I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Wolf Hall.  It looks as if Mantel, Smith, and Kingsolver are the top contenders – Hilary Mantel for winning the Man Booker Prize in 2009 and 2012,  Zadie Smith winning the Orange Prize in 2006 for On Beauty, and Barbara Kingsolver winning the Orange Prize in 2010 for The Lacuna.  I imagine people are wondering why the Women’s Prize even exists since it doesn’t seem to be a necessity with all the other literary prizes out there that seem to be dominated by women.  In my opinion, women’s literary work is still by large ignored and not valued enough.  The Women’s Prize will continue to aid in spotlighting some of the best women’s literary work available as well as discovering new writers.  Good luck to all those that made the shortlist and may the best woman win.  So, what do you think of this shortlist?  Are you interested in reading any of them, if so which ones?  Check out the video below of the judges talking about the books on the shortlist. The judges are Miranda Richardson, (Chair), Actor, Razia Iqbal, BBC Broadcaster and Journalist, Rachel Johnson, Author, Editor and Journalist, JoJo Moyes, Author, and Natasha Walter, Feminist Writer and Human Rights Activist.  Ah, you can feel the suspense.  Happy reading….

18 Replies to “The Women's Prize for Fiction 2013 Shortlist”

  1. It generally doesn’t occur to me to wonder what colour a writer is, if I see a photograph I sort of register it but not otherwise, as for me it doesn’t affect the book at all. I am conscious though of what nationality a writer is.

    1. Prizes are a great way for writers to get recognition and attention. Everyone who is an avid reader knows who the writers on the shortlist are. Writers of colour are systematically ignored and are the least recognised in the literary world and that’s a fact. It would have been nice to see another writer or two along with Zadie Smith. What was the name of the last book you read by a person of colour?

      1. The one I know for certain is Half a Yellow Sun which I read recently, as I said I couldn’t be certain about the colour of the authors of any of the other books. I wasn’t even aware until I saw her name on the Orange longlist that AM Holmes is a woman and I read This Book Will Save Your Life ages ago.

  2. I think most minorities are under represented and the fact that only 5% of fiction read in the English language is translated, that’s also a serious under-representation. I predict that in 2014 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be on the list, it was good to see Elif Shifak, the Turkish writer on the long list at least and I am disappointed she didn’t make it to the short list.

    I think it is no coincidence that the long list had a more than representative number of Eastern writers/stories and that is due to the selection of the judges, no matter how objective they try to be, it is a subjective call. If we had a judge of colour, one who was well read in books written by women of colour, I am quite sure we would see more work nominated. And why not, I say – that’s part of the point, to read more widely and to read well.

    So young Deidre, time to finish your book. Increase the chances 🙂

    I agree with Victoria that it’s great to see how diverse the Granta 20 young writers are this year, much more international in it’s outlook and we will start to see these writer’s works come more into the mainstream.

    As for this prize, I think Hilary Mantel could take it (like you I haven’t read it or Wolf Hall and probably won’t for a while), I think Kate Atkinson has a chance and Zadie Smith but the strength of Hilary Mantel’s performance thus far is pretty hard to ignore.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I was disappointed too that Elif Shifak didn’t make it because I enjoy her writing style and subject matter. It was great to see that the Granta 20 young writers was more diverse. As for my book, I’m still working on it. Camp NaNoWriMo has been a little slow but my word count is only 25,000 words and I’m at a little over 13,000. I’m looking forward to reading Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. Amazon is taking forever to get it to me.

      1. I requested that one on NetGalley and got turned down, wrong region I think (aren’t we always in the wrong region though – never mind I ignore that, rules are made to be tested :). Will be interested to see how you find it, I was definitely interested to read it.

          1. Interesting quote in Neil Gaiman’s speech at the London Book Fair today urging publishers to be brave enough to make mistakes in this uncertain era:

            “Amazon Google & all those things probably aren’t the enemy. The enemy is simply refusing to understand that the world is changing.” – Neil Gaiman

          2. She has won before that’s true, there’s a review of her new book Americanah in the Guardian currently, looks promising.

            ‘My new novel is about love, race… and hair’

            Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

          3. Check out the Guardian links too, she says she’s a hair ‘fundamentalist’, now what might that mean I wonder 🙂 I think you and me ought to find out. I think your blog has given me some clues. 🙂

          4. Sounds like she might be “natural hair nazi” (which means she thinks natural hair should be the only way). It’s probably because in Africa they like women who straighten their hair, wear weaves and wigs over natural hair. It’s kind of sad. Will definitely check out the Guardian links. 😀

          5. I have listened to her speak and she is captivating to listen to, I’ve been following her since her first book Purple Hibiscus came out, a great storyteller and an articulate observer, I’m going to order it now too!

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