Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction LongList 2016 #IWD2016

Baileys logo 2016Today is International Women’s Day, this year the theme is #PledgeForParity and the Baileys Women’s Prize certainly does a lot to advance that challenge, with their ambition to bring the best women’s writing and female storytellers to ever-wider audiences.

In selecting the following 20 titles for the longlist the Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford shared that:

“We had a hugely enjoyable and stimulating meeting, as there were a great many strong novels in contention. We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer.”

Half the longlist are debuts, they represent seven nationalities, four previous shortlisted authors and the first Zimbabwean author to be longlisted for the prize.

The longlisted books are as follows:

Kate AtkinsonA God in Ruins – Teddy, would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather, whom we met in her previous book Life after Life navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century.

Shirley BarrettRush Oh! – Australia 1908, Mary supports her father’s boisterous whaling crews during a harsh season, while caring for five brothers and sisters in the wake of their mother’s death.

Cynthia Bond: Ruby – Heart-breaking tragedy and graphic abuse in lyrical prose, Ruby escapes her past only to have to return and it doesn’t sound as pretty as she is.

Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord – a retelling of the story of King David, one I’ve read and reviewed.

Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – the first in a sci-fi series, a martian woman, an alien pilot and a pacifist captain, humanity a minor player in this fun and sometimes dangerous adventure.

Jackie Copleton: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – A woman opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, who perished nearly forty years ago during the bombing of Nagasaki, with a collection of sealed private letters…

Rachel Elliott: Whispers Through a Megaphone – Miriam, who whispers, hasn’t left the house in 3 years, and today has had enough, she will venture out. Ralph discovers his wife doesn’t love him and runs away. They meet.

Anne Enright: The Green Road – the story of Rosaleen, Irish matriarch of the Madigan family, and her four children, spanning 30 years and three generations. The battles we wage for family, faith, and love.

Petina Gappah: The Book of Memory – Memory, an albino woman imprisoned in Harare, Zimbabwe, has been convicted of the murder of her adopted father. A tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, the treachery of memory.

Vesna Goldsworthy: Gorsky – A modern Gatsby set amongst contemporary London’s über-rich Russians.

Clio Gray: The Anatomist’s Dream – Born with a defect, abandoned by parents, he joins a carnival, finding friendship among an assortment of ‘freak show’ artists, magicians and entertainers, then meets someone who recommends a cure.

Melissa Harrison: At Hawthorn Time – four lives, the importance of community, our relationship to nature, belonging and the freedom of the unknown, contemplative, for fans of compelling nature writing.

Attica Locke: Pleasantville – legal thriller set during a dangerous game of shadowy politics, a missing girl, election night, a tussle for power, sounds like a TV series, oh yes, she writes those too.

Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies – a messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Dark humour explores Irish 20th C attitudes to sex, family.

Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen – Set in Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old values,  amid the threat of looming wars. Humorous, contemporary family saga with a cute squirrel cover!

Sara Nović: Girl at War – Zagreb, summer of 1991. Ten-year-old Ana is a carefree tomboy playing in the streets of Croatia, civil war breaks out, tragedy, guerilla warfare, the world child soldiers, a daring escape plan.

Julia Rochester: The House at the Edge of the World – Father of teenage twins falls off a cliff,drunk, soon after their lives separate, they return, delving into the past, their grandfather’s mysterious, painted family record created over an ordnance chart, a lyrical journey through character ad mystery of family.

Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love – A character getting over a broken heart, the discovery and mystery of an old painting, a lost masterpiece by an 18th C French artist, a melange of entertaining stories, voices, characters, points of view.

Elizabeth Strout: My Name is Lucy Barton – Lucy is visited by her mother, whom she hasn’t spoken to in years, while recovering from an operation, a story of family, damaged relationships, unspoken childhood events, coming to terms with the past, navigating the future, keenly observant, deeply human, unforgettable.

Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life – follows the complicated relationships of four men over decades in NYC, their joys and burdens, Jude’s journey to stability, scarred by a horrific childhood with its prolonged physical and emotional effects.


Voila! The final list of 20 novels, I have only read one and it wasn’t my cup of tea, there are lots of new names in the list for me, as well as the familiar. Elizabeth Strout’s new novel looks promising, At Hawthorn Time looks like my kind of book, I’m intrigued by The Book of Memory and Anne Enright’s is bound to be great reading and writing and I’m definitely going to read Kate Atkinson’s follow-up novel eventually.

For a more comprehensive short review of al these titles, check out the link to The Irish Times article below:

No idea who will win but this is the gems are!

Which book(s) appeals to you from the list?

Further Reading:

Article in Irish Times: Lisa McInerney and Anne Enright on Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist

Purchase A Book:

If you wish to buy one of the above books, you can do so via the Book Depository link below, with who I have become affiliated.

Buy One of These Books at Book Depository

33 thoughts on “Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction LongList 2016 #IWD2016

  1. I’m usually really behind on reading any prize-winning (or nominated) books, but on this occasion I was surprised to have actually read 5 of these: A Little Life (which was powerful but not quite my cup of tea), Girl at War, The Book of Memory, Pleasantville (all three are good, but I doubt they will win the prize, perhaps not ‘worthy’ and ‘weighty’ enough), and Gorsky (erm…).


    • And of those you haven’t read, what takes your eye?

      I’d not seen Gorsky around, but find it amusing that someone has noted recent changes and events and put it into a kind of fan fiction, Gatsby didn’t impress me, I doubt I’ll be reading that one either.


    • I think I’ll be watching from the sidelines mostly, I don’t have any of them on my TBR and I’m kind of waiting to see what will be announced on the Man Booker International 2016 tomorrow as well. In the meantime I have so many to read and struggling to get through one a week at present!


  2. Reblogged this on e a m harris and commented:
    The Bailey’s Prize longest from that fascinating blog Word by Word.
    It’s great to see a list of success; most of them won’t win, but they’ve been recognised for excellence and that should help their careers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope Hanya Yanahigara makes it this time. Rooting for her book 🙂 Thanks for sharing this list, Claire. Has some great titles. Need to add some of them to my ‘TBR’ list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you read any of the others Vishy? I’ve not read A Little Life, and I don’t think I will be any time soon, a bit like The Pollen Room, a little wary of the affect while reading of this kind of book, even if its worthy. I’m looking forward to the Man Booker Intl announcement coming up!


      • I haven’t read any of them, though I have read about Kate Atkinson’s book (I think it is the sequel to ‘Life after Life’) and Elizabeth Strout’s book. I read 70 pages from Yanagihara’s book and it is beautiful – the prose and the ideas are wonderful. The book hasn’t gotten to the main plot yet – I have heard that it is a bit dark. But the prose, the thoughts – so brilliant.


      • I somehow missed your review of Geraldine Brooks’ book. It is such a beautiful title and cover. Interesting to know that it is about King David. Is that a harp or a lyre on the cover? It is so beautiful!


  4. Pingback: Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction LongList 2016 | e a m harris

  5. I haven’t read any, but I think I’ll make a bee-line for Melissa Harrison – I do like good nature writing. The Kate Atkinson should be good if it continues to explore the themes of ‘Life after Life’, and the Elizabeth Strout looks intriguing too. I’ll definitely give the Becky Chmbers a miss though. I really don’t get on with sci-fi.


    • Yes, it looks very different from all the lists of predictions I’ve seen, but then I can’t imagine how you manage to predict from such a large list anyway! I imagine the shortlist will be a couple of familiars and a couple of newbies, we shall see!


  6. What an inviting list. A God in Ruins is the only one I’ve read, so far. And it sets a very high bar! At first glance I’m keen to read Ann Enright’s The Green Road and Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton. The novels by McKenzie, Goldsworthy, and Gappa also sound enticing! Oh, and Girl at War and … and, … Oh, they all look good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love your enthusiasm Jill, isn’t it great to have a new set of recommendations and especially so many new names, I’m looking forward to reading the reviews and deciding which I must read, I know I’ll read Strout and Enright and Atkinson, I like the sound of Harrison’s book and Gappah too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the list and the link. I just added to my “to read” list: Lucy Barton (haven’t read Strout yet and feel I should) Rush Oh! (anything about the sea/sailing draws me) Ruby (a sucker for love stories), the Secret Chord (can’t resist a retelling of story of King David), The long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (first in a series? Getting into Sci-fi/fantasy again, and sounds a bit like “Firefly” the cult classic that ended way to early), At Hawthorne Time (yes, love nature writing), and Girl at War (just sounds like a good read). Hmmm. Probably won’t get to all of these!


    • Maybe not, but I’ve believe it’s in the longlist that the gems lie, after that it all starts getting a little subjective, so follow your instinct I say! And if you want a little more confirmation about whether it’s one for you or not, check out the Irish Times, indeed!

      And check back here in a couple of days because the Man Booker International 2016 longlist is about to be announced on Thursday 10th March!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The only one I’ve read is The Secret Chord and although I have really liked all Geraldine Brooks’ other books, I really didn’t like this one (review on my blog).
    I’ve got the Enright on my TBR, and Gorsky appeals… maybe Girl at War (is it YA? I can’t tell). But the rest, I’ll wait till a blogger I trust reviews ’em!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting, I didn’t like The Secret Chord either Lisa, I really wanted to ad kind of wished she’s chosen a female narrator, or at least for some of the book, to make the men more sympathetic characters, it kind of reminded me of Song of Achilles, but was missing a vital element sadly. I don’t think Girl at War is YA, but it seems to have been read by a lot of bloggers I follow and appears to be a fast paced read. Lots of genre diversity in this selection for sure, will be interested to see the reviews of the lesser known titles as well.


  9. I was so surprised to see The Secret Chord on the list. I’d decided not to read it after I read your review. I wonder now if I’ll agree or not. The Green Road is fantastic – one of me favourites from last year. I’m looking forward to McInerney’s novel and that’s what I’ll be reading first.


    • I’d almost forgotten about that book and realised when it came up that I haven’t seen any other reviews of it, a few of my friends are fans of her books, but many put off by the premise, whereas usually there’s a rush to read a favourite author immediately.

      It will be interesting to see what you and Simon think of it. I knew you’d be happy about the Irish fiction. 🙂 I can’t wait to read Enright and to read all your reviews.


    • Thanks Stephanie, loved your review, which I’ve linked below, it’s great to hear of an author able to launch a debut novel thanks to a kickstarting project, to have all that support and enthusiasm behind you must be such a motivation.

      I’m not surprised to learn that Becky Chalmers is holed up in her writing cave, at work on the next one, bravo to her, she deserves her success and this nomination must be just the icing on the cake. I’m tempted to read it, not just because it sounds like great characterisation, but for the inspiring story of it’s coming into existence!

      The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet


  10. Pingback: Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist #BaileysPrize #InternationalWomensDay – Word by Word

  11. Pingback: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – Word by Word

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