13 March 2013

Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist 2013

It's an exciting week for book awards with the UKLA and Carnegie shortlists being announced yesterday and the Women's Prize for Fiction today. The Women's Prize is what used to be known as the Orange Prize until this year before they withdrew their funding. This year the prize is being funded by private donations before a new headline sponsor for the 2014 prize. This prize isn't one where I 'shadow' it and read the whole shortlist but I'm always interested to see what is on the longlist and shortlist and always end up reading a least  a handful of the books. As with other book prizes, it is a great way to discover new books you haven't heard of. This year the longlist is very exciting indeed:

- A Trick I Learned from Dead Men by Kitty Aldridge
- Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
- Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
- Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- Honour by Elif Shafak
- How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
- Ignorance by Michele Roberts
- Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany
- May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes
- NW by Zadie Smith
- The Forrests by Emily Perkins
- The Innocents by Francesca Segal
- The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
- The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber
- The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
- The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan
- Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple




I had the pleasant experience reading through the shortlist of actually having heard of quite a few of these already and having already bought a handful of them. (I would have liked to see Instructions for a Heatwave there by Maggie O'Farrell though.) The only one I have read is Bring up the Bodies (you can read my review here) which I loved and was very happy to see it win the Man Booker this year - it was far and away my favourite on the shortlist. It has obviously won a lot of prizes this year and I'm torn between it overshadowing everything and the fact that it is a phenomenal book. The judging criteria according to the prize's website;

       "The judges are given the key criteria for the Prize - accessibility, originality and excellence in writing by women. They are asked to forget about reviews, publicity spends, an author's previous reputation, the sense of 'who deserves it' and choose simply on the basis of novels that inspire them, move them, make them think - and that they admire and enjoy."

I have already bought, but not yet read, Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes, NW by Zadie Smith and The Innocents by Francesca Segal so I'm excited to read those and will bump them up my to-read list.

Ones I hadn't heard of but I've bought since seeing them on the longlist are How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti (which I've heard is like Girls in book form but also that it's barely a novel), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (well pre-ordered as it's not out until tomorrow), The Forrests by Emily Perkins, The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber and Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. (I'm not thinking about  how much money I've just spent on them particularly as I'm reading ebooks at the moment as I'm travelling so will end up buying print copies of any that I really like.)

It's unlikely I'll get through all of them by the time the shortlist is announced on April 16th but that becomes irrelevant really as really I'm just excited to discover some new books and hopefully find something life changing there.




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