Stella Prize 2021 Longlist Announcement

I had the pleasure of watching the Stella Prize 2021 Longlist announcement  this morning on YouTube. It’s actually the first time I took the time to do that in a while. I don’t think I’ve followed any major literary prize closely since Bernadine Evaristo had to share The Booker Prize win with Margaret Atwood.  That still annoys me when I think about it.

Desiring to read more books that don’t seem to get much shine and looking for interesting books by women writers since this month is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day I decided to take a moment to really see what the Stella Prize is all about.

The Stella Prize was created in 2013.  It awards Australian women writers from all literary genres and the winner takes home a health prize of $50,000. From what I heard today the Prize has 3 main criteria: excellent, engaging, original. Sounds promising to me.  It was even more so once I started hearing the name of the 12 titles that were chosen for the longlist from an original 160 entries. These 1é longlist authors will be awarded $1,000 in prize money, which is pretty damn cool. The 6 shortlist novels will be announced on March 25th and the winner on April 22nd.

I found this list to be very intriguing. I specifically looking forward to:

Revenge: Murder in Three Parts by S.L. Lim

Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore

The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha

Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu

Happily more of these titles are available than I thought. So looks like I might be using my Kindle a bit more this year. Will be tying to read a couple of these. Are you interested in the Stella Prize? If so, which books are you interested in reading?

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My Thoughts on Women’s Prize 2020 Longlist

The Women’s Prize 2020 longlist was just announced very late in the evening few days ago.  I woke up to the news on Twitter the next day.  As disappointed as I was with the prize last year, you’re probably wondering what the heck am I doing on here posting about it this year.  I couldn’t resist checking out the longlist.  I wanted to see who they included and who they left out.  This is the Prize’s 25th year so I secretly hoped they’d get it right, but no.  They chose 16 books but as always there is at least one that makes you scratch your head and say to yourself, “What’s that doing there?”  Yes, I’m referring to Queenie, the book that the British are marketing as a black Bridget Jones Diary.  Smh… The last time I checked that book was NOT funny at all.

Of the 16 books on the longlist I’ve only read 2: Queenie ♥ and Red at the Bone ♥♥♥♥♥ (loved, beautifully written).  Despite that there are a few that I actually own and are planning to read like Girl, Woman, Other, Fleishman’s in Trouble, The Most Fun We Ever Had, and lastly The Dutch House.  I would like to eventually pick up Girl, Dominicana, and The Mirror and the Light (I haven’t read Bring Up the Bodies yet), but I don’t own these books yet.  So no pressure for me. I won’t be reading through the entire list this year, just the ones I’ve got.

Combing this list the first time I was shocked to see that Ducks Newburyport, The Parisian, The Confessions of Franny Langdon, and Patsy weren’t on the list. I was thrilled to see that The Testaments wasn’t on the list. Whew! What a relief! The judges say they are looking for something different and something that they’ll find hard to put down.  Well we’ll see the real direction they go in when they announce the shortlist on April 22.  The winner will take home a 30,000£ check and limited-edition bronze figurine called Bessie created by the artist Grizel Niven on June 3.  I’m already predicting that Queenie, The Mirror and the Light, and Actress will make it on the shortlist. Let’s see if I’m right. 😉



As for the judges, we have:

Martha Lane Fox (The Chair of Judges): businesswoman, philanthropist, public servant

Scarlett Curtis:  writer, activist

Melanie Eusebe:  co-founder of the Black British Business Awards

Viv Groskop:  author, comedian

Paula Hawkins: international bestselling author


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Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist

I had to come on here to talk about the Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist.  It looks a lot more interesting than The Women’s Prize 2018 longlist, which didn’t move me one iota.  The Man Booker International Prize always seems to have that right amount of flavor and difference to get a lot of readers of literary fiction interested.  Sadly this year’s list contains no black authors but despite that I’ve found at least 8 books out of the 16 that I’d like to check out at some point; whether they wind up on the shortlist or not.   The shortlist will be announced on April 12th and the winner will be announced on May 22nd.  The judges are all powerhouses in their jobs and that should make it hard for them to agree on the shortlist and in the end the winner.  They will be looking at different aspects of novel-writing and it will be hard to predict which books will wind up on the shortlist.  The judges are being chaired by Lisa Appignanesi OBE, author and cultural commentator.  The panel consists of translator Michael Hofmann, novelist and essayist Hari Kunzru, critic Tim Martin, and novelist and short story writer Helen Oyeyemi.

Happily France has 2 entries with Vernon Subutext 1 by Virginie Despentes and The 7th Function of Language by Lauren Binet.  The former I’ve heard a lot of French people rave about here and the latter I haven’t heard much about but it sounds intriguing, especially since Laurent Binet is known for HHhH which was a very successful novel and adapted to film.  There is a strong Latin representation on this longlist with 3 books from Spain and 1 from Argentina.

The list is very eclectic as usual and all sorts of genres are represented in this longlist.  There’s even a horror book on the list called Frankenstein in Bagdad by Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi.  I’m not sure what I’ll be able to read before the shortlist is announced in April or even what I will be able to find, since sometimes some titles may not be readily available.  I’m in no hurry.  If I read anything, firstly I will probably pick up Vernon Subutex 1 and/or The 7th Function of Language because I can get them both here very easily in French.  So that’s my take on this literary prize. Will you be reading anything from this longlist?  Will you be following this prize closely?  If so what are you interested in reading?  I’ll leave the longlist below with the books I’d like to read at some point in bold.

The 13 books on this year’s longlist are:

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Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017


The 2017 Baileys prize for women’s fiction longlist:

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò (Canongate)

The Power by Naomi Alderman (Viking)

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (Hogarth)

Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador)

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (Serpent’s Tail)

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant (Virago)

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride (Faber & Faber)

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose (Corsair)

The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan (4th Estate)

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (Chatto & Windus)

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill (riverrun)

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Serpent’s Tail)

Barkskins by Annie Proulx (4th Estate)

First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (Granta)

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain (Chatto & Windus)

So I only guessed two right. Now that I look at the list I should have suspected The Woman Next Door would wind up on the list. So hard to know with this prize.  The books I’m most interested to read are The Sport of Kings, The Power, Do not Say We Have Nothing(on my TBR this year), The Woman Next Door (on my TBR this year), Stay With Me, and finally The Lesser Bohemians.  Sadly the only book I’ve already read on this list is Barkskins.  It will be a tight race for the shortlist.  I’ll be trying to focus on the few I’ve named. So what do you think of this list? Do you feel it’s better than last year’s? I was a little surprised that Swing Time didn’t make it.  Thoughts?


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Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 Longlist Predictions

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the literary prizes  thatI look forward to the most.  It is a prestigious UK  prize, founded in 1996, that honors great women writers from all over the world. Wednesday, March 8th the Baileys Women’s Prize Longlist will be announced.  Traditionally the longlist contains 20 choices however this year it may contain less than that.  Regardless of the amount decided on, the longlist should be extremely competitive.  There have been a plethora of excellent novels from well-known powerhouses as well as debut novelists in the period from April 1, 2016  to March 31, 2017 (of course all novels have to be published in the UK during this period to be eligible).  The list is long and illustrious.  I can’t say I’ve read enough of the books that I think would fit the prize’s longlist this year, but I believe I have a pretty good idea of what might wind up on it.

So here are my predictions starting with the books that I’ve read:


From the books I haven’t read yet but looking forward to:


And finally for the titles I don’t plan on reading that could make it on the list:


Those are my predictions but I could be totally wrong. There are really so many great books by women out there.  So what are your predictions for the Baileys Women’s Prize Longlist 2017?  Do you follow this prize or are you anti-literary prizes?


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Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 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