The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017

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The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist for 2017 was announced today. The 16 books are:

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò 
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Little Deaths by Emma Flint
The Mare by Mary Gaitskill
The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
Midwinter by Fiona Melrose
The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain


It was initially suggested that there would be 12 books on the longlist down from 20 in previous years but a compromise was reached between the judges who wanted a longer list reflecting the strength of the submissions and the organisers who wanted a shorter list with more focus on each title. It’s also notable that the number of submissions was a staggering 189 compared to around 150 in previous years. Hopefully, the reputation of the prize means that it has a long future ahead of it regardless of sponsorship changes.

Last year’s longlist was dominated by debuts but this year’s selection features more established names. Of the books which are new to me, ‘The Lonely Hearts Hotel’ by Heather O’Neill piques my interest the most and is about two orphans in 1930s Montreal who dream of opening a circus. I have also seen some really strong reviews for ‘Midwinter’ by Fiona Melrose and ‘First Love’ by Gwendoline Riley.

In total, six books which I featured in my predictions list made the cut. I have read four of the longlisted novels (Naomi Alderman, Emma Flint, Sarah Perry and Madeleine Thien) although I didn’t include Flint in my predictions list. Instead, I would really liked to have seen some recognition for The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss but alas, it was not to be…

I also predicted a strong showing from previous winners. In the end, three made the cut (Linda Grant, Eimear McBride and Rose Tremain) and I will be looking out for ‘The Dark Circle’ set in a tuberculosis sanatorium in post-war Kent. However, my preferred choices (Ali Smith and Zadie Smith) both missed out.

The shortlist will be announced on Monday 3rd April. Have you read any of the longlisted books and which ones would you recommend?


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22 responses to “The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017

  1. Little Deaths is my favourite (of those I’ve read so far). I really didn’t like The Essex Serpent – I think I’m the only person to feel that way but it just didn’t work for me. It’s a good-quality list though, looking forward to seeing the shortlist.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the reviews. I had not read any – but some are yet to be published in US.


  3. I find this to be one of the most consistent prizes in terms of quality. I’ve only read a couple from the long list (The Essex Serpent and Do Not Say We Have Nothing) but I’ll definitely be checking the rest out. I’ve got a copy of The Gustav Sonata on my bedside table that I’m pretty eager to read!


  4. I’m so pleased to to see ‘The Woman Next Door’ on the list. I absolutely loved it – a real highlight of last year’s reading. ‘Barkskins’ is more of a surprise; I love Annie Proulx, but this book didn’t work as well for me.


  5. Me too. I was so vouching for The Tidal Zone. It was such a fabulous book.


  6. The only one I’ve read is Barkskins by Annie Proulx, which is a fascinating tome though long and some characters shine brighter than others which makes the reading pace a little disjointed.

    I’m particularly attracted to the voices from elsewhere, so I’m going to read Stay With Me by the Nigerian author Ayòbámi Adébáyò and The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso, and I also have the Madeleine Thien book on the shelf and also The Essex Serpent, I’ll be lucky if I can get through all that but look forward to reading the reviews of other titles.

    I was disappointed not to see Homegoing by Yaa Gyasia on the list, I thought that was a superb novel and a sign of incredible talent, however its good to see a few other new voices featured on the list.


  7. I, too, am sorry that The Tidal Zone missed out, maybe it will appear in the Wellcome prize titles? I have read the same titles as you and Hagseed which I know is on your tbr pile. Will let you know as I read a few more which I will extract from my own tbr pile.


  8. MyBookJacket

    I only own FIrst Love but hopefully the nominations help ensure these books are easily available in every country.


  9. I loved Little Deaths and it wasn’t a genre i would normally enjoy, Fingers crossed for Emma Flint or Atwood…. Atwood should just be appointed as queen of everything haha


  10. I’ve wanted to read the Bailey’s list, but the MBIP calls my name first, and I don’t have time for both. Interesting that Do Not Say We Have Nothing was on the Man Booker list for 2016. It seems to appear on several lists! My mother, a Canadian, particularly loved it.


  11. I just wrote a post on my initial thoughts from the blurbs and e-book samples however I have yet to read any all the way through so I have some catching up to do! whether I’ll get around to reading them in time is another matter


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