Next week on March 10th the long list for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction will be announced. I’m always excited about this prize which celebrates female writers, but I’m particularly enthusiastic this year because I’ve been asked to be part of a shadow panel alongside other bloggers and authors who will be reading books listed for the prize and debating about who the winner should be. This has been organized by the fantastic blogger Naomi over at TheWritesofWomen. She has made a list of predictions here as has fellow-panelist Dan here.
I’ve read so many fantastic novels by women in the past year it’s difficult to narrow down a list of what could be considered the best. The long list last year was 20 books strong so I’m giving a list of my 20 favourites below. Some of these books I loved so much I will be sorely disappointed if they aren’t on the list.
Last year I was shocked to see that Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World which was one of my books of the year wasn’t on the long list. Equally this year I think Marilynne Robinson’s "Lila" and Joyce Carol Oates’ "The Sacrifice" are both brilliant and really must be listed. There are also some great novels by writers like Rachel Seiffert, Susan Barker, Catherine Hall and Lissa Evans which I feel haven’t had the recognition that they deserve. I’m aware there are many novels such as "Some Luck" by Jane Smiley, "Euphoria" by Lily King and "Outline" by Rachel Cusk that I haven’t yet read and I’m sure when the real list comes out I’ll be reading some of them. But, for now, here are my predictions. I'd like to note that after the shortlist was announced in 2014, I did successfully predict that Eimear McBride would win so watch this space for future posts and predictions!
Click on the titles below to read my thoughts about each of these great reads:
The Walk Home – Rachel Seiffert
Upstairs at the Party – Linda Grant
Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey
I Am China – Xiaolu Guo
The Incarnations – Susan Barker
House of Ashes – Monique Roffey
Thirst – Kerry Hudson
The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters
How to be Both – Ali Smith
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy – Rachel Joyce
The Sacrifice – Joyce Carol Oates
Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller
The First Bad Man – Miranda July
The Chimes – Anna Smaill
A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler
The Repercussion – Catherine Hall
Academy Street – Mary Costello
Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel
Crooked Heart – Lissa Evans
Lila – Marilynne Robinson
Have you read any of these books? Are there other books by female authors published in the last year you'd prefer to see on the list?