Overjoyed to see the Baileys (nee Orange) Women’s Prize for Fiction come out early this morning and to recognise a few books that I have actually read and really enjoyed. And even more pleasure in the fact that there is now a list from which I am sure to find more that I might not have been aware of, to add to the ever-growing list.
It may be a women’s prize, but it celebrates diversity across generations, genres, countries and cultures, something that blogging has certainly encouraged as the recommendations and access to what is available out there is no longer limited by geographic borders and what’s on display in bookshops.
The 20 titles are selected for excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women (in English) from throughout the world.
The judges had this to say:
“The judges feel that this is a fantastic selection of books of the highest quality – intensely readable, gripping, intelligent and surprising – that you would want to press on your friends, and the judges have been doing just that,” commented Helen Fraser, Chair of Judges. “There was a great deal of talent and exciting writing in the books that were submitted this year and we hope that between now and the announcement of the shortlist on 7th April many readers will want to share the enjoyment we have had with these 20 terrific novels.”
And the longlisted titles are:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah – Nigerian – My review here
Margaret Atwood – Maddaddam – Canadian
Suzanne Berne – The Dogs of Littlefield – American
Fatima Bhutto – The Shadow of the Crescent Moon – Pakistani – My review here
Claire Cameron – The Bear – Canadian
Lea Carpenter – Eleven Days – American
M.J. Carter – The Strangler Vine – British – 1st Novel
Eleanor Catton – The Luminaries – New Zealand/Canadian – my review here
Deborah Kay Davies – Reasons She Goes to the Woods – British
Elizabeth Gilbert – The Signature of All Things – American – my review here
Hannah Kent – Burial Rites – Australian
Rachel Kushner – The Flamethrowers – American
Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowland – Indian/American
Audrey Magee – The Undertaking – Irish
Eimear McBride – A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Irish
Charlotte Mendelson – Almost English – British
Anna Quindlen – Still Life With Bread Crumbs – American
Elizabeth Strout – The Burgess Boys – American – my review here
Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch – American
Evie Wyld – All the Birds, Singing – British – my review here
So, one month to read a few more from the list – I will definitely be reading Evie Wyld, I have The Goldfinch, but that’s my summer chunkster, so I’m saving that for August, I’d like to read Hannah Kent’s novel Burial Rites set in Iceland and based on a true story, I have mentioned that numerous times to people and not got around to reading it myself yet. I am curious about The Flamethrowers and Fatima Bhutto’s book sounds interesting.
So what titles are you considering?
I have “The Luminaries” and “The Signature of all Things”. I think between the two of those I’ll be busy for a while–however, I would like to read “Americanah” and “The Strangler Vine”. Arrrgh! List is getting longer and longer, especially since I’m bookmarking this page! No, I’m not complaining. How wonderful that there so are so many interesting novels to check out. Thanks, Claire!
I think I have managed to read more on the list this year, though after seeing a few predictions last week, I wasn’t at all confident.
It’s an interesting list, I love its diversity, good to see a few new names and titles and at last Americanah, which I have been championing for a while.
Some of the cover art of those books is just lovely, I’ve only read two of them though as I read so much older stuff, but I loved The Luminaries it was one of my top books of last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Goldfinch, it fully deserves its place. O f the others I have been wanting to read Burial Rites for as a while.
I definitely want to read A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing as I keep on reading and hearing great things about it. I am v glad Americanah made it onto the longlist too ……a very thought provoking read as well as a wonderful story. A fab list.
Ah, yes, that’s another title I’ve heard lots about, so many great books!
I must say this is an impressive list! The only book I’ve read is Americanah whic I just finished last weekend. I’ll be doing a live chat on You tube with another book tuber, on her channel Token in America, Saturday March 8 at 9am Eastern/4pm Paris. I have The Goldfinch, The Lowland. and The Luminaries on my TBR. Not sure about the rest yet. What would you suggest? Not so keen on Burial rites since the hype is real. I’m afraid of being disappointed. 🙂
I’m kind of attracted to those that I have never heard of, but need to look more closely at them to decide, quite interested in Fatima Bhutto, but you know me, I like to read books that take us into unknown places and across cultures.
I’m saving The Goldfinch for the summer, it feels like that kind of read to me.
I’m so pleased you’ve read Americanah, I knew you would love it, loved that whole hairdresser scene too 🙂
I have the Evie Wyld book and something about it appeals, given my own connections to farm life, so I will probably read that next.
Will keep those in mind. Hope you’ll watch the Google a Hangout tomorrow.
I loved Burial Rites! I hope you have a chance to read it. I read The Luminaries as well, excellent book, but it was so hard to get through. I started it when I was not in the mood for so long a book. Have Americana but haven’t started it yet, looking forward to it though!
My list would be:
Hannah Kent – Northern Iceland, 1829 intrigues me …. ( Burial Rites)
Jhumpa Lahiri – Her books are quality and my safe choice.
( The Lowland and i.e. Interperter of Maladies)
Margret Atwood – Going out on a limb here….bad experience with her in high school, needs a
second chance. Downside, I’ll have to read the first 2 books of the trilogy
before I attempt (Maddaddam.)
And if you had to choose one of the unknowns based on the premise of the novel, which would it be?
Mine would be the book by Fatima Bhutto though not for the story alone, for who she is, where she was born, where she was raised and where she now lives and for what she must have already experienced in her life being part of a family whose voices were silenced. And because she is a poet. 🙂
If I have to take a chance….
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
– Americanah ( African literature, I’ve read so little from this continent)
– Eleven Days (curious how a woman writes a military/war book)
– The Dogs of Littlefield ( subject ‘Northeast suburbia, USA. (where i come from) ….what are her observations? Curious indeed…)
I hope you take a chance on one of these unknowns, I have read Americanah and enjoyed it, but am very familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work and have listened to her speak after the publication of her first novel Purple Hibiscus. The other two you mention are complete unknowns to me too.
I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t read any of them though one reason for that is most of them aren’t in paperback yet. I’ve got several on the wish list and have just Deborah Kay Davies for the cover alone, it’s brilliant and very unsettling. One I doubt I”ll give a go is Elizabeth Gilbert, I know you loved it but I disliked Eat, Pray, Love so much it puts me off ever reading anything by her again.
I’ve read all the ones you’ve reviewed, so I’ve downloaded Kindle extracts from the books by Suzanne Berne, Fatima Bhutto, Claire Cameron, Lea Carpenter, M.J. Carter and Hannah Kent so I’ll see how I go.
I probably should have done that, I downloaded Fatima Bhutto, and have read 20% but the writing is a little flat, too much telling and not enough showing, but I am intrigued by the life experience of the author and I’m willing to persevere on that account, but I don’t think it’s a prize winning novel, more like a consciousness raising one perhaps.
I have the Evie Wyld book on kindle as well, so will read that too and I’m saving The Goldfinch chunkster for the summer, well unless it wins the prize, then I might have to find another chunkster for summer. 🙂
I have to confess it’s disappointing so far. I found the Fatima Bhutto too hard-going, The Bear is a bit too violent for me. I’ve actually read the Hannah Kent and really liked it.The other ones didn’t interest me. I’m really enjoying the book you recommended about women during World War I. After that, I’ll download extracts from the second half of the list.
The first 20% wasn’t at all engaging, but when Mrs Mina started attending the funerals of strangers and her husband tried to cope, the characters started to breathe more life, but compared to We That Are Left it is a slow read indeed. I think I may have already read the best of the list according to my particular inclinations, I want to get back to reading Tove Jansson for her anniversary and a new Gallic Books novella Nagasaki and I have a couple of historical novels to indulge. And in summer I’ll read The Goldfinch.
I’m currently reading MaddAddam and this entire trilogy is just such an accomishment. I’m considering a lot of the others, including Burial Rites and The Goldfinch.
Good to see Chimamanda nominated here. With Margaret Atwood. I’ve read Americanah but yet to review it. 🙂
Pingback: All the Birds, Singing | Word by Word