The long-list becomes the short-list and it looks like a strong line-up for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013. Here is the short list:
Kate Atkinson Life After Life – my review here
A M Homes May We Be Forgiven
Barbara Kingsolver Flight Behaviour
Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies
Maria Semple Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Zadie Smith NW – my review here
Here’s what Miranda Johnson, Chair of the Judges had to say:
‘The task of reducing the list of submissions from over 140 to just 20 books was always going to be daunting, but this year’s infinite variety has made the task even trickier. The list we have ended up with is, we believe, truly representative of that diversity of style, content and provenance, and contains those works which genuinely inspired the most excitement and passion amongst the judges. I don’t anticipate the job becoming easier at the next stage!’
I have managed to read two that made it through, plus others from the long list including Honour, Ignorance and The Light Between Oceans. I am currently slow-reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour, she won the prize in 2010 with The Lacuna, one of the first books I reviewed here. Zadie Smith is also a previous winner, her book On Beauty won in 2006.
I was sure that Atkinson and Smith would make the list, not only because the stories are engaging, but because they dare to step outside the ordinary and test the boundaries of convention, Life After Life likely to be a more popular read, but both deserving their place here.
I know many will be surprised yet delighted to see Maria Semple’s Where’s You Go Bernadette on the list and of course the inevitable Hilary Mantel, no surprise there. Will anyone be able to knock her off her current perch I wonder?
The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, London on 5 June.
The Guardian – Women’s prize for fiction reveals ‘staggeringly strong’ shortlist
Amid the terrible news that saddened and horrified us all in Boston yesterday, a day that should have been cause for calm celebration, the annual Pulitzer Prizes for 2013 were quietly announced.
The Snow Child was one of the three finalists for the fiction prize, the winner was The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, a timely journey in the heart of North Korea.
It was good to see a non-fiction title I enjoyed and recommended last year Tom Reiss’s Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo win the biography prize. My review here.
A great summary Claire! Personally I was devastated to see that The Light Between Oceans didn’t make it to the short list. I LOVE that novel for reasons you have already written about in your earlier review! xxx
Yes, and I was also disappointed that Elif Shafak’s Honour also didn’t make it, but I am sure both novels will continue to widely read, having made it this far.
Looks like we’re thinking about the same things. I just posted about the Women’s Prize too. I was happy to see Where’d You Go Bernadette on the shortlist as well as NW. I still can’t believe there weren’t more women of color on the longlist. Why do you think that is? I say good luck to them all becuase it’s going to be one hell of a race. I think Hilary Mantel just might sweep this one up too. I can’t really judge because I haven’t read them all yet. Great news for Tom Reiss. I’ve got it now I just have to read it. 😉 Who do you think will win?
I still haven’t read Where’d You Go Bernadette and looking forward to it!
As I commented on your post, I think the selections are subjective and it very much depends firstly what books have been put forward and then who the judges are and also where they come from. There is no such thing as an unbiased reader and sometimes that is a good thing because it gets us to read widely, but also the reason why there is always a panel of judges I guess!
This is the reason why some people don’t pay any attention to literary prizes. I like to follow them and read them because they can sometimes be challenging and interesting.
I’m not sure whether I think this is an incredibly strong shortlist or an incredibly safe one. Maybe it’s both. Thanks for the information about the Pulitzer. I’ve had ‘The Orphan Master’s Son’ in my sights for sometime. Now I have a really good excuse to buy it.
It seems like a strong and daring list, yes some known and previous winners in there, but they are all a little unconventional as well, really unsure as to which way this panel will swing and if the Mantel star can be outshone.
The only one I’ve read on these lists is The Snow Child, after having read your review of the book. Happy to see it here. It was lovely.
Me too, great to see it getting so close, this book deserves to win everything in my view. The best outcome is that this will help it to be more widely read and that fact has already assisted the author and her husband to have a water well dug – no more hauling water for the home – that’s a pretty amazing achievement from a book too!
It’s a good list to me, but then there are several books I really want to read on it!
I agree, there are many on the long list and I would love to read all these books, thankful I’m almost half done, time to go read another chapter or I’ll never get through them!
I have only read Bring up the Bodies from the Women’s prize shortlist, though I really want to read Flight Behaviour, however I still have The Lacuna TBR.
They are quite different books, Flight Behaviour reminds me more of Prodigal Summer, though not quite as compelling thus far. The Lacuna is one of my favourites, I loved the setting and the interaction with real historic characters, it was perhaps also more experimental, using letters and different viewpoints, but ultimately rewarding.
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It must have been a tough choice this year – there were so many good books (and authors) on the long-list.
I think it is a safe list. There are some deserving longlisted books which should be here. I didn’t feel excited as last year and the year before. I am glad Orphan Master’s Son won.
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