Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction - longlist

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Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction - longlist

The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction longlist has just been announced -

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah
Margaret Atwood - MaddAddam
Suzanne Berne – The Dogs of Littlefield
Fatima Bhutto - The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
Claire Cameron – The Bear
Lea Carpenter - Eleven Days
M.J. Carter - The Strangler Vine
Eleanor Catton - The Luminaries
Deborah Kay Davies - Reasons She Goes to the Woods
Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All Things
Hannah Kent - Burial Rites
Rachel Kushner - The Flamethrowers
Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland
Audrey Magee - The Undertaking
Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English
Anna Quindlen - Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Elizabeth Strout - The Burgess Boys
Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch
Evie Wyld - All The Birds, Singing


So far, my vote is split between Evie Wyld and Donna Tartt.
I've read seven of them so far - so that's my reading list sorted for the forseeable future.

Have you read any of the longlist?
Are there any books that should be on it but aren't?

Ooh, some of my favourite

Ooh, some of my favourite authors are on this list, but I haven't read any of these books yet. Next on my to-read list is Americanah. I'm also waiting for my son to finish MaddAdam so I can get my hands on it. I found the previous Donna Tartt book quite turgid going but maybe I should try the new one...

I'm a bit embarrassed to say

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I haven't read any of these authors but I've looked up the Evie Wyld novel and it sounds interesting and unusual. I've decided to read it after I finish the book I'm currently reading (Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson, which is also unusual and very engaging - was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction). Thanks for the heads up.

I'll have to have a think about other books that should be on it - do you know what the criteria are in terms of when they were published? Reading your post, I think I need to broaden my reading horizons!

This list has galvanised me

This list has galvanised me to find my specs, get down to the bookshop and buy some of these great-sounding titles. I often find I’m short of time to read books – and flick through the paper instead – but this has reminded me that there’s nothing like escaping into a novel. Donna Tartt is the one I’m most drawn to as The Secret History is one of my all-time favourite books.

Oooh, I can just about

Oooh, I can just about remember reading Margaret Atwood’s brilliant The Robber Bride about 20 years ago. Will have to get my hands on her new one. Love a dystopian novel!

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@Topspin - the Evie Wyld book

@Topspin - the Evie Wyld book is great - strong characters, fascinating structure, great plot and a creeping sense of menace. Her first book, After the fire, a still small voice - was the best book I read last year. I'm a real fan and I hope she wins the Women's prize for fiction.

@Gertrude and Goldenfool - please try the Goldfinch it's an absolute pageturner and a pleasure to read.

@Sybil - the weird thing about the Margaret Atwood book, Maddaddam, is that it's the third part of a trilogy. It's fine to read it first (I did) but if you enjoy it, then you'll want to read the first and second books. (Oryx and Crake - and The Year of the Flood).

@morningstar, thanks for the

@morningstar, thanks for the tip re The Goldfinch. I will… once I’ve finished The Little Friend, which a friend has just passed on to me. After a slow start, I’m hooked. It’s very dark.

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The Little Friend is on my

The Little Friend is on my reading list - let me know how you get on with it.

Hi. After reading this thread

Hi. After reading this thread, I'm going to take the Evie Wyld book away with me on holiday next week. Will let you all know what I think when I get back.

@morningstar I've finished

@morningstar I've finished The Little Friend.

I loved it, which is strange because I found the characters difficult to care about and the plot moves so slowly at first that I kept forgetting what was happening and nearly abandoned it several times.

Not much happens for the first 150 pages, but then it starts to get interesting. Children grappling with a cobra! Family tensions and bike chases that were strangely reminiscent of my 70s childhood (although I didn't catch any poisonous snakes or get chased by violent nutters).

I raced through to the end. By the time I put it down, my skin was crawling, my heart thumping and my hands sweating. I think you could say this book got under my skin.

The shortlist is up:

The shortlist is up:
Burial Rites
The Lowland
The Undertaking
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
The Goldfinch.

Oh no, now I'll have to buy

Oh no, now I'll have to buy more books. My shelves are groaning already. Just read a great review of The Undertaking…

@morningstar you were bang on

@morningstar you were bang on the money: – can't wait for my copy of The Goldfinch to arrive.

Pulitzer shulitzer… my

Pulitzer shulitzer… my mistake! But goodness, reading about the gender debate on prizes for literature is illuminating:

morningstar's picture
@Gertrude It's great that The

@Gertrude It's great that The Goldfinch has won the Pulitzer, and it would be great if it won the Women's Prize.
That article about the gender debate is a good overview but I'm glad there's a Women's Prize and I'm glad that women's fiction is a recognised category. As the writer says, 'a good book is a good book', but the gender imbalance problem stems from the whole culture of the publishing industry and I think that a prize for women's writing helps greatly to redress that balance. Plus it's a great reading list.

Here's Kate Mosse on the Women's Prize for Fiction: "What prizes do," she says, "if they're set up properly, with a clear purpose, is that rather than complaining about the status quo, they change the status quo. Things do not change on their own, and they never have done."

morningstar's picture

I've just finished The Little Friend - many thanks for your excellent capsule review. I'd just finished watching True Detective so it was a perfect book to read next. It was slow going at first - a strange, Nancy Drew goes southern gothic tale - but as you said, it fast becomes gripping. There's a sharp eye for character (Harriet's family and the town's community) and a superb atmosphere and sense of place. The writing is often very beautiful. It has stayed with me after racing through the final 100 pages (On the bus yesterday, I was so engrossed that I missed my stop) and, without any spoilers, I'm still thinking about the identity of The Little Friend.


I thought I knew who The Little Friend was, but now you've made me wonder. I'm not going to read it all over again, though, so it will have to remain a mystery.

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I was trying to avoid

I was trying to avoid spoilers - Harriet has a little friend throughout the book but the Little Friend of the title is revealed near the end. I wish Logarty had private messaging :-)

@morningstar I've skim-read

@morningstar I've skim-read it again but am none the wiser. It will have to remain a mystery, unless you can work out a spoiler-free solution? ;)

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very late reply - been away

very late reply - been away on holiday, back to work now :-(

The Women's prize announcement is tonight.
I've since read Americanah and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I can't decide who I want to win...

There was a great article this weekend in the Guardian about Donna Tartt -

and @touche - I did go back to the book to find the reference (by Harriet's aunt) to the little friend - but then realised, even if I did find it (I didn't), it was in the hardback and any page reference would be wrong.

And the winner was A Girl is

And the winner was A Girl is a half formed thing. Don't think I fancy reading it though... will read the Evie Wyld though!

According to the reviews I've

According to the reviews I've read, it is quite challenging, but I think I might give it a go. Why does the Evie Wyld appeal to you @Ecogirl?

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Wow - that was a surprise. I

Wow - that was a surprise. I'm half way through A Girl is a Half Formed Thing at the moment - and it is a brave and challenging read. Once you get used to the style it gets easier but I'm not sure it's going to have a happy ending.

I think that the shortlist was really strong and almost any of the books would have made a great winner. I didn't enjoy The Lowland much - but I'd already read a long excerpt in the New Yorker and I think that was enough.
(Just checked and it's here -

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Grrr. There's no edit feature

Grrr. There's no edit feature. Just to add... Hello to Ecogirl - and I really hope you enjoy the Evie Wyld book.

Jake Whyte is the sole

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed British island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It's just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep - every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

Why do I fancy the book? I liked the description:

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake's unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

As simple as that!

Presently I am reading The Fault in Our Stars as my daughter just finished it. And also half way through a thriller called Dominion... set in 1950 in a UK that surrendered to Germany in WW2.

Just out, the film of The

Just out, the film of The Fault in Our Stars is getting great reviews. The book made me weep buckets, so hankies at the ready for my next cinema visit.

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