The judges of the Women’s Prize for Fiction have announced the longlist for this year’s prize today. A total of 16 books have been chosen across a range of genres spanning both new and well established authors.
For the uninitiated, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to a book of full length fiction written by women throughout the world. The winner is entitled to a £30,000 prize, and a limited edition bronze figurine called the ‘Bessie’. Each shortlisted entry also receives a bespoke leather-bound edition of their novel.
Moreover, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the prize. A winner of the winners will be chosen by a public vote in November.
Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 longlist
The selected books, in no particular order, are:
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
“A Thousand Ships” is a retelling of the story of the Trojan War, but from an all-female perspective. It gives voices to the women, girls and goddesses involved in the event.
Actress by Anne Enright
“Actress” is a book about the freedom one finds in their work and in the love they make and keep. The story revolved around a mother-daughter duo and their relationship. It is a novel about celebrity, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’ hidden truths.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
“Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line” is a fictional mystery based in metropolitan India. The story revolves around three friends trying to find their missing classmate. It draws on real life incidents involving the slums in the country.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
“Dominicana” is a historical fiction novel about a young woman from Dominican Republic who emigrates to the States after marrying a man twice her age. The story is about how she learns to free herself from the restraints and earn independence.
Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
“Fleishman is in Trouble” is a contemporary fiction novel revolving around a couple and their marriage. It was also nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 under Fiction and Debut categories, but had lost on both counts.
Girl by Edna O’ Brien
“Girl” is a harrowing portrayal of the young women abducted by Boko Haram. The book is set in the deep countryside of northeast Nigeria. It is a brutal story of horror, hunger, and incarceration.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
“Girl, Woman, Other” depicts the life struggles of twelve different black, British characters, mostly women. The characters share the stories of their families, friends, and lovers. The book had jointly won the Booker Prize last year, sharing the accolade with Margaret Atwood.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
“Hamnet” is a luminous portrait of a marriage; at its heart is the loss of a beloved child. As you would have guessed by now, the title refers to William Shakespeare’e boy who died at the age of eleven.
How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
“How We Disappeared” is an ambitious novel set in Singapore. It is about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation, and a man who thought he had lost everything. The narrative weaves two different timelines together. The book is partly based on the author’s great-grandfather’s experiences.
Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
“Nightingale Point” is a contemporary fiction novel. It is narrated in third person, and considers various point of views. It is about how an extraordinary event can change the lives of ordinary people.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
“Queenie” is an honest and relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning. It was also nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 under Fiction and Debut categories, but had lost on both counts.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
“Red at the Bone” looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives, even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be. It was also nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 under the Fiction category, but had lost to Margaret Atwood.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
“The Dutch House” is set over the course of five decades. It is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. It was also nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 under the Historical Fiction category, but had lost to Taylor Jenkins Reid.
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
“The Mirror and the Light” is the final book under the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. The book traces the final years of Henry VIII’s advisor and the first Earl of Essex.
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
“The Most Fun We Ever Had” is a multi-generational novel. The story is about the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple who recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they have built. It was also nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 under Fiction and Debut categories, but had lost on both counts.
Weather by Jenny Offill
“Weather” is a contemporary fiction novel. It is a shimmering tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis. As the title hints, the book also talks about the problem of climate change.
What about the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 shortlist?
The shortlist will be announced on April 22. A total of 6 books will be shortlisted from the above longlist. Any guesses which of the above will make the shortlist?
And the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020?
The winner will be declared on June 3.