Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016

Bookish Stuff / Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Baileys Women's Prize badgeIt’s that time of year again!  The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 longlist was announced earlier today.  The list is surprising and vast in subject matter.  These 20 novels were chosen from a list of 150 books which the judges read and narrowed down between themselves.  There are some oldies and some debut novels too.  On the longlist of 20 titles there are approximately 8 that I’m interested in reading and one of those 8, I already started to read last year, A Little Life.  I got to page 200 and quit.  There are actually two I’ve already read.  Now that’s a first for me:  Ruby and The Green Road.  I was happy to see three black women on the list: Ruby a debut novel by Cythinia Bond which I read in 2014 at its release, Pleasantville by Attica Locke which is the second thriller, starring the lawyer Jay Porter from her first award winning Black Water Rising, and lastly The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah, a Zimbabwean author.

Sci-fi lovers will be happy to see The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which has been getting oodles of love everywhere since its release in 2014.  Now what I’m a little surprised at are the novels on the list that were released in 2014.  I thought the majority of the list would contain books from 2016 and January 2015 at the latest.  I’m a little disappointed that Jam on the Vine (2015) by LaShonda Katrice Barnett didn’t make it to the longlist.  So since books from 2014 can be nominated as well, let’s just hope A Little Life doesn’t cast a shadow over the newer books.  It’s obvious it will make its way onto the shortlist because of it enormous popularity.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I’ll definitely let you know if and when I finally finish it. 😉

The shortlist will be announced Monday, 11 April and there will be a shortlist reading and discussion event on the eve of the announcement of the winner, 7 June.  The winner will take home £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’ on 8 June 2016 in the Royal Festival Hall in London.  This year’s presiding Chair of Judges is Margaret Mountford, a lawyer and businesswoman accompanied by judges Laurie Penny, award-winning author Elif Shafak, singer-songwriter and author Tracey Thorn and broadcast journalist, Naga Munchetty.

Good luck and may the best books go on to the shortlist!

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 longlist:

A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson

Rush Oh! – Shirley Barrett

Ruby – Cynthia Bond

The Secret Chord – Geraldine Brooks

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

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – Jackie Copleton

Whispers Through a Megaphone – Rachel Elliott

The Green Road – Anne Enright

The Book of Memory – Petina Gappah

Gorsky – Vesna Goldsworthy

The Anatomist’s Dream – Clio Gray

At Hawthorn Time – Melissa Harrison

Pleasantville – Attica Locke

The Glorious Heresies – Lisa McInerney

The Portable Veblen – Elizabeth McKenzie

Girl at War – Sara Nović

The House at the Edge of the World – Julia Rochester

The Improbability of Love – Hannah Rothschild

My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara


19 Replies to “Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016”

  1. Can you elaborate on why you couldn’t finish A Little Life?
    The author will be in my hometown soon so I considered reading it before I met her.
    I’m interested to read your thoughts on it.

    1. I can’t really elaborate on that because it was in the middle of last year. I suggest you try it. That book is so overhyped it’s hard to tell who will like it or not. I’m still not sure what I think about it because I really need to finish it first.

      1. I’m still going to try to reread and finish A Little Life before embarking on The People in the Trees. I’m giving myself the benefit of doubt by chalking me dropping it up to I wasn’t in the mood. More on that later….

  2. I think the reason the years are funny is that some of the books were published in the US in 2014, but only in 2015 in the UK, and the criterion for inclusion on the list is “in the UK between March 2015 and March 2016”. It does make it a bit confusing!

      1. It sure doesn’t help. If I were a publisher, I’d definitely game the release date of any books I was particularly confident about—a bit like films and the Oscars, I guess.

          1. Think you’re right. Might be why Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border didn’t get on last year, which I was so disappointed about.

          2. I’ve been asking myself this for a while. Sometimes I find an amazing book on a longlist, but very often, the same types of books are rewarded over and over and over again, and it’s not clear that it contributes to the diversity of publishing culture (to understate the case.)

          3. You’re right no it doesn’t. I was so thrilled last year that A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize though. Lately I’ve been asking myself how is it that some authors get the best cover designs, best quality paper, and all the publicity you can imagine and other really good authors are struggling. It annoys me!

          4. I was delighted with Marlon James’s win too. Was chatting about it with some colleagues the next day–these are guys who aren’t really into reading–and they were like “Hey, that sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll get a copy.” It was a story that they thought would speak to them. Huge deal, and surprisingly uncommon, it seems.

          5. Yes he certainly deserved it, especially when you hear how many times the novel was refused. Goes to show you you can’t give up even when things seem impossible. 🙂

  3. This year I hope to read more of the longlist, although I’m not always a big fan of their selections. Girl at War was very good, that’s the only one I’ve read. I heard a lot of people struggled with A Little Life — it sounds like a very emotional book.

    1. I have to agree the longlist is often so eclectic! I’m going to,try to read the 8 I’ve chosen hoping that some of them will be on the shortlist. I might do a post on the 8 that I’m the most interested in.

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