The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

This year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was announced today. The twenty novels are:

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Outline by Rachel Cusk
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson
I Am China by Xiaolu Guo
Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Offering by Grace McCleen
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neil
The Bees by Laline Paull
The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips
The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert
A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
How to be Both by Ali Smith
The Shore by Sara Taylor
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
After Before by Jemma Wayne
The Life of a Banana by PP Wong

So far, I have read three of the longlisted novels. I loved ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey which was probably my favourite debut novel of 2014 and ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters. I didn’t love ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel but it has been very popular and I’m not surprised to see it on the longlist.

The books I hoped would feature on the list but didn’t make the cut were:

Academy Street by Mary Costello  – an excellent novella
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill – another excellent novella
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – probably my second favourite debut novel of 2014

Whereas the Man Booker Prize longlist usually features a few titles which have yet to be published, the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist always seems more familiar and therefore slightly easier to predict. Moreover, there are twenty books on the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist compared to thirteen on the Man Booker Prize longlist so there tends to be more room for variety and a good balance between established authors and new names. The two novels on this year’s longlist I definitely want to read are ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Anne Tyler and ‘How To Be Both’ by Ali Smith and I’m keen to find out more about some of the less well-known novels like ‘Crooked Heart’ by Lissa Evans.

The shortlist will be announced on 13th April and the winner will be announced on 3rd June. What do you think of this year’s longlist?  Have you read any of the books? What are your predictions for the shortlist? Who are you rooting for to win?


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26 responses to “The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

  1. sarahlikesbooks

    How to be both is excellent, I really liked it. (Read it when I was reading the Booker shortlist.) Station eleven is next up on my tbr – I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like it, everybody else has had very good things to say about it. I’m also pleased to see Elizabeth is Missing on the list! I’ll probably read the shortlist when it’s announced.


  2. I’m afraid the only one I’ve read is ‘Station Eleven’ and I was pretty underwhelmed by it, despite the rave reviews it’s garnering. The one I most want to read is ‘The Bees’ – hearing great things about it!


  3. I’ve read a few on the list and have a few in my TBR stack. Personally, I was CRUSHED that Essbaum’s ‘Hausfrau’ didn’t make the list, and equally Costello’s Academy Street.


  4. I loved Station Eleven and really liked The Bees. I also loved Everything I Never Told You. I have How to be Both but I’m really daunted by its format. I’m looking forward to reading The Paying Guests.


    • I didn’t love Station Eleven but I did love Everything I Never Told You and The Paying Guests. I share your feelings about the format of How to be Both but over the past few months, I’ve been persuaded to give it a try.


  5. I’m delighted to see Ali Smith on the list. Loved How to be both – it’s such a layered novel. Very clever, but it never feels too smart for its own good.


  6. I haven’t read any that are on this list, however How to Be Both is on my TBR along with A Spool of Blue thread. The one thing really surprise me is that there aren’t any black writers on the list. That’s disappointing.


  7. I’m excited about this longlist. It seems to have a nice range. I’ve only read Elizabeth Is Missing and didn’t like it as much as others. I’m planning to read How to Be Both and The Bees next month. Two or three of the others won’t be available in the US until later this year.


  8. Col

    I feel bad saying this but I liked only half of How To Be Both! Even so I’m pleased she’s on the list in a way because I think she’s such a great writer – and besides she’s Scottish and we are nothing if not parochial! Of the books I’ve read on the list I really enjoyed Elizabeth Is Missing and I thought The Bees was fantastic.


  9. If I wasn’t reading for the IFFP, I’d SO be reading for this! Next year!


  10. Pingback: The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Longlist 2015 | A Little Blog of Books

  11. I really enjoyed reading Station Eleven, The Paying Guests and The Country of Ice Cream Star; like you, I’m really surprised Hausfrau and The Dept. of Speculation are not on this list but, as with all of these awards, I always feel like many deserving folks are left out! Thanks so much for sharing the list!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Cue Card

    If I had to guess I’d say The Paying Guests will win on June 3. I liked The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and had hoped it would make the shortlist, but alas no. Right now I’m reading A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie which made the shortlist. I will see if I like it. I must admit How to Be Both doesn’t interest me too much. Just too much on the structure of it. Cheers.


  13. Thank you for such a good summary of the long-list – I was so late catching up with the prize this year I feel like I’m working backwards from the shortlist (current favourite – ‘A God in Every Stone’, though I’d be happy for any of the books I’ve read so far to win). Thanks for the ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ plug. It’s steadily moving up my to be read pile.


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