Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

lbaileyslogoTwenty books have now been selected that make up the 2015 long list for the Bailey’s (previously The Orange) Prize for Fiction. They will be reduced to six on April 13 and the winner announced at the Royal Festival Hall on 3 June 2015.

Previous winners include Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (2014) and A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven (2013), Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles (2012) and Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011).

Shami Chakrabarti, Chair of judges, had this to say about this year’s selection:

“The Prize’s 20th year is a particularly strong one for women’s fiction.  All judges fought hard for their favourites and the result is a 2015 list of 20 to be proud of – with its mix of genres and styles, first-timers and well-known names from around the world.”

From the list of 20, I have read only one and it was absolutely brilliant, Laline Paull’s The Bees and I am currently just over half through Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread which reminds me of the experience of reading Jonathan Franzen’s family saga The Corrections.

So here it is, the list of twenty books long listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction:

Rachel Cusk: Outline

Lissa Evans: Crooked Heart

Patricia Ferguson: Aren’t We Sisters?

Xiaolu Guo: I Am China

Samantha Harvey: Dear Thief

Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing

Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven

Grace McCleen: The Offering

Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star

Heather O’Neil: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

Laline Paull: The Bees

Marie Phillips: The Table of Less Valued Knights

Rachel Seiffert: The Walk Home

Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone

Ali Smith: How to be Both

Sara Taylor: The Shore

Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread

Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests

Jemma Wayne: After Before

PP Wong: The Life of a Banana

The prize is being shadowed by a group of excellent bloggers, including one of my all time favourites Eric at Lonesome Reader, organised by Naomi at The Writes of Women.

They will be reading all the books and many of them have read at least five or six already, that’s where I’ll be heading to decide which books might appeal to me and where I recommend you look for some of the best reviews.

So which books have you read, or plan to read?

31 thoughts on “Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

  1. It’s a diverse list, isn’t it? Nice to see some unfamiliar names and surprises in there. I’ve only read Elizabeth is Missing and How to be both. I loved the Ali Smith, such a clever and engaging novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad Naomi, Eric Helen and Co are going to read them all, it will make it so much easier to make good choices about what to read, the long lists are the best! Great variety indeed and good to see so many unknowns making the list. Bravo for them! Must read the Ali Smith too.


  2. I have had The Bees on my TBR for ages …..bought it in hardback!… I’m really looking forward to reading that . Feeling slightly daunted by the task atm !!!


  3. I must be living on another plant. I’ve read none of these writers and only heard of 2…because of your reviews. Time to add a few women writers to the ‘book jar’ ! Thanks for the overview….and now I will do some research while enjoying my coffee!


  4. Absolutely thrilled to hear The Bees is on the list. One of my favourite reads of the year for sure — all thanks to you because your blog is where I heard about it. Must go through the list now. Looking forward, as always, to your reco’s.


  5. I’m expecting a copy of The Bees as soon as it’s released in paperback. (YAY pre-order!) But I am sad to say I’ve only read one of the authors on the list, Grace McCleen’s debut, which was good, but I’m sure she’s matured in her writing since then.


  6. I think this list is very interesting, and I’m excited to see the upcoming reviews of the shadow panel. I’ve only read Elizabeth Is Missing so far, but there are definitely books here that I am looking forward to reading.


  7. Definitely Sarah Waters and Anne Tyler, and Emma Healey on my first glimpse at the titles; after that I like the ‘sound’ of Sarah Taylor, ‘The Shore’, and Jemma Wayne, ‘After Before’ (with a name like that it has to be good!) Will definitely check out the resources you recommend as I make my final decisions! Thanks for this list Claire! 🙂


  8. It’s a great list, plenty of familiar titles. To date however the only one I’ve read from list is Station Eleven :3 Hopefully I can get around to reading one or two more before the shortlist is announced? 🙂 *wishful thinking*


  9. Hi Claire thanks for posting the list. I haven’t read anything on it, however I am interested in reading a few of them. The others I’ll have to look them up because I haven’t heard of them. The only problem with this list is that there are no women of color on it. I still don’t know how they manage to do that every year and think that nobody notices. 😦


    • It said in the press release that there is a strong showing of UK writers, I’m not sure exactly of the definition of “women of colour”, but Laline Paull’s parents were first generation Indian immigrants, so I would think that she might qualify, even if she was born in the UK, I totally recommend her book, it was a five star read for me and I could clearly feel the influence of someone who has an awareness of another culture and storytelling tradition.

      Also Kamila Shamsie, a Pakistani novelist, her book A God in Every Stone really appeals to me, for much the same reason, as you know I love books that cross cultures, so always looking for authors whose backgrounds and experiences and influences are wider than just one culture.

      Xiaolu Guo was born in China.

      I guess after your month of reading in conjunction with ‘Black History Month’ it would have been great to see even more variety of backgrounds. I have so many great recommendations from your February posts. Are there any titles you’d thought might make it on the list, I’m certainly open to all reading suggestions?


      • It would have been nice to see Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett and Disgruntled by Asali Solomon. Those are the only two I can think of for the moment. The list is comprised of mostly UK writers so it’s not surprising when I see women writers of Indian or Pakistani origin on the list. For some reason this prize has a problem with nominating black writers and I don’t understand why. Ill have to go through the list to look at the title descriptions in detail to see if there’s anything I’d like to read. For the moment the only three that spark my interest that I know are The Bees, How to Be both, and Station eleven. We’ll see how the list gets chopped down for the shortlist. I don’t know why but I’m sure Station Eleven is going to be on it.


  10. I have been intrigued by the Bailey’s list for so long, and seeing the titles of a few books I enjoyed and a few others I want to get to, only makes me wish I was reading all of them. The past two years I’ve been part of the Shadow Jury for the IFFP, which is a rather large time commitment as I teach in the day, but so worth it to be exposed to translated fiction. Maybe sometime I can include women’s fiction as well! I know that The Spool of Blue Thread was wonderful, in my opinion, and I also enjoyed The Paying Guests (though it seemed to get long for pointless reasons near the end). Anyway, thanks for sharing about the prize and whetting an already ravenous appetite.


  11. Thanks for the post, Claire. Nice list! Nice to see you favourite Laline Paul there 🙂 I read somewhere that Anne Tyler has retired from writing. And so it was a pleasant surprise to see her novel – so nice! Hope you enjoy reading from the longlist. I will look forward to hearing your thoughts on them. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have read none of these books, whenever I toddle over here, I always feel less than well read, which admittedly spurs me on so it isn’t all bad news.


    • No need to feel like that, I’ve only read one! But I like knowing what’s being discussed, even though I am reading more books in translation recently, to satisfy a curiosity about how universal our imaginations are worldwide. I like where your reading takes you too, don’t change that, but thank you for keeping on coming back to visit, it means a lot.


      • I can’t ignore quality, it would be silly to not keep coming back. It is great to read the works of authors from far afield and although I am still using my training wheels (English), I hope to someday be able to read in other languages be part of a wider emotional understanding with my words.


  13. Pingback: A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler | Word by Word

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