Article published on March 10, 2015.
The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction is, as Kate Mosse writes on its website, “one of the most respected, most celebrated and most successful literary awards in the world . . . . [celebrating] the very best full length fiction written by women throughout the world.” Indeed, the highly regarded, former Editor in Chief of newbooks, Elsbeth Lindner, was one of the Prize Management Committee back when it was sponsored by Orange.
So the longlist has been announced (see below) but we can’t help wondering if Ali Smith sighed just a little at seeing her latest, How to Be Both, appear once again. Winning the £30k prize would obviously be very welcome but this season she and Mr Tóibín seem to have featured regularly on such lists.
Unfortunately, he fails to qualify this time because this prize is only open to women. Why? When the Booker Prize of 1991 neglected to shortlist any books by a woman – despite some 60% of novels published that year being by female authors – a group of women and men – authors, publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, journalists – met to discuss the issue. And the rest is history.
Anyway, we’re rooting for Ali once again (and commiserations to Colm).
The longlist is
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
Guy Pringle, March 2015
POETRY: The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism by Selima Hill