The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2016

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

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett
Ruby by Cynthia Bond
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton
Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott
The Green Road by Anne Enright
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy
The Anatomist’s Dream by Clio Gray
At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison
Pleasantville by Attica Locke
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie
 Girl at War by Sara Nović
The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I have read two of the longlisted titles and am both very pleased and not at all surprised to see A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson on the list among the more well-known novels. Eligible books I would liked to have seen on the list but didn’t make the cut include Things We Have in Common by Tasha KavanaghEileen by Ottessa Moshfegh and Fishnet by Kirstin Innes – a debut novel I read a couple of months ago but haven’t reviewed yet which deservedly won the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize last year.

As ever, many of the books are completely new to me, partly because eleven out of the twenty novels are debuts – a high proportion even for the Baileys Prize which always has a varied mix of new and established authors. I’ve already heard many good things about ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ by Elizabeth Strout and ‘Pleasantville’ by Attica Locke from people whose views I trust and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the debut novels from various bloggers participating in the Baileys Prize shadow panel. However, as I’m taking part in the shadow panel for the Man Booker International Prize whose longlist will be announced on Thursday, exploring this year’s Baileys Prize books will have to wait a while.

The shortlist will be announced on 11th April and the winner will be announced on 8th June. What do you think of this year’s longlist? Have you read any of the twenty titles?

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2016

  1. I’ve only read one The Secret Chord and it wasn’t really my thing sadly, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the books on the list, they also cross quite a variety of genres, I’m intrigued by The Book of Memory and like the sound of At Hawthorn Time and I definitely would love to read Strout and Atkinson.

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    • Definitely a wide variety this year – the Becky Chambers book seems to lean more towards the science fiction genre which is unusual for a prize usually dominated by literary fiction. As you know, I loved A God in Ruins so hope you enjoy it!

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      • Yes, I was surprised to see that and also its clearly the first in a series, but initial reviews make comparisons with Ursula K. Le Guin who has influenced a number of literary giants. We shall see! I must get hold of A God in Ruins!

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  2. I never knew about the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. I only found out when they released the longlist and it got retweeted onto my timeline. Of course, I know A Little Life. I have seen some of the other books but don’t know what any of them are about. I will probably go through all the synopses and pick a few I’d like to read, but like you I am prioritizing the Manbooker International Prize. I’ve been waiting on that and I’m pretty excited about it.

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  3. I have also read two of these, but there are many that I haven’t heard of before. More things to read!

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  4. I have read the same titles as you plus The Green Road. This is familiar Ann Enright territory, families in some disarray and Ireland. I posted a blog about it as part of Blogging the Man Booker 2015. I described it as gently humorous and starkly truthful. Reading the post again clearly I enjoyed it.
    The Baileys list looks very original and different.

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  5. So many of these are on my TBR so pretty happy on that front. The only one I have read is Ruby by Cynthia Bond which, although incredibly moving, I found hard to read in parts. It’s pretty brutal.

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  6. I have only read A God in Ruins which I thought was excellent. It’s always good to see books I don’t know about on a list like this because it gives me ideas on what to read. Thanks for posting this!

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  7. Same as you, have read the first and last titles on the list. Interesting that such an emphasis has been put on first novels, will be intrigued to see whether the better known authors will surge through to the next stage or not. I’m not yet a big fan of Anne Enright, but this book has been nominated so many times that I think the time has come…

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    • I wasn’t a fan of The Gathering so I’m a bit reluctant to try The Green Road. The number of debuts is very high this year – it will also be interesting to see how many of these authors will go on to write successful second/third novels which are recognised too.

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  8. Gosh, that list makes me realise how I don’t keep up with modern publishing!! I haven’t heard of many of the authors, or read any of the books!

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  9. I have only read Girl at War and thought it was a bit uneven. It’s interesting to see so many debut novels on this list; I’ve heard good things about most of them. Sadly, the two that I am really interested in aren’t out yet in the US. Oh well, I’ll have to wait. It’s not like I have nothing else to read. 🙂

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  10. Jo

    I haven’t read many of these, but I loved At Hawthorn Time

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  11. I thought Girl at War was very good, though maybe not a must-read. I haven’t read any of the others, except I plan to read A God in Ruins (love Kate Atkinson), and the Becky Chambers book. Happy to see science fiction on the longlist.

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  12. I’m halfway through The Glorious Heresies and it is just fantastic!

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  13. I heard a Radio 4 interview with Hannah Rothschild and the Improbability of Love sounded so fascinating I went and bought the Hardback copy. It was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad, just not particularly original or insightful or exciting or moving. ie not as good as it had been talked up to be.

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