After much speculation, the official Baileys Prize shortlist has been announced! As part of the Baileys Bearded Book Club duo, Simon and I had an excellent time at the shortlist announcement party at the Southbank Centre drinking Baileys cocktails while chatting with authors, journalists and booksellers.
I predicted three out of the six titles correctly. It's in many ways a surprising list as two of the authors are Irish, three are American and only one author is English. Established former Booker Prize winner & genius Anne Enright takes a rightful place alongside last year's Booker shortlisted and highly controversial novel by Hanya Yanagihara, but I was particularly excited to see Lisa McInerney's strong debut on the list. Elizabeth McKenzie's novel strikes a rare balance of being both entertaining and very intelligent. To be honest, I didn't expect it to make the long or shortlist but I'm delighted it's done so. I finally read the extraordinarily creative and moving novel Ruby this weekend and it's fantastic this prize will help Cynthia Bond find more of a UK audience after being read widely through Oprah's influence in America. The wild card is Hannah Rothschild whose novel is one of the four on the longlist that I didn't have time to read before the shortlist's announcement.
If you haven’t yet read some or any of these titles here are my one sentence story summaries to give you a taste. Click on the title to see my full review. The 2016 Baileys Prize winner will be announced on June 8th with readings from all the shortlisted authors the day before at the Cadogan Hall. Which are you most interested in reading next?
The Green Road by Anne Enright is about a family who have been geographically split apart for many years and are drawn back together by a charismatic matriarch.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an epic tale of the life-long consequences of abuse and the commitment of real friendship. This is one of the most controversial novels published in recent years.
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney depicts several struggling individual lives in an economically depressed city’s violent underworld.
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie is a slightly surreal take on a relationship between two people navigating their engagement and difficult families.
Ruby by Cynthia Bond depicts a community swayed by the power of religion and a resilient woman who won’t forget the children who have been lost.
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild is the story of a love-lost woman thrust into the raucous high-end art world after discovering a long lost valuable painting.
Listen to a podcast from The Readers where Simon and I discuss the Baileys Prize party and the shortlist: