I always look forward to the release of the Women’s Prize longlist, because I get to cheer for the authors I’ve already read, and discover a bunch of new ones. I know I won’t love every book on the list, but I always end up with a few new favorites, so it’s worth it.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded each year to a female author writing in English – regardless of nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter. Novels must be published in the United Kingdom between April and the following March, the year the Prize is announced. This year’s longlist of 16 books was announced on March 10, with a shortlist April 28, and the winner will be announced July 7. Previous winners include The Power, Hamnet, The Inglorious Heresies, Home Fire, and An American Marriage.
My favorite longlist books from last year (2020) were Hamnet, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, Queenie, Girl Woman Other, The Most Fun We Ever Had, and How We Disappeared. I didn’t get through Weather and I had mixed feelings about Fleishman is in Trouble.
This year’s longlist includes the following:
- Because of You by Dawn French
- Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
- Consent by Annabel Lyon
- Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
- Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
- How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
- Luster by Raven Leilani
- No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
- Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
- Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
- Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
- Summer by Ali Smith
- The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
- Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
- Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
Of this list, I’ve only read Transcendent Kingdom and The Vanishing Half, and I’m thrilled to see both of them on this list.
I was already planning to read Luster and Piranesi, and now I’ve added these books to my TBR: Burnt Sugar, Detransition Baby, Exciting Times, and How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House. Most years, I read about half of the longlist, and reading these would get me to that goal. Burnt Sugar appeals because it was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and One-Armed Sister is about Barbados, an island I enjoyed visiting. Detransition, Baby is about a trans woman, and I think Peters is the first trans author on this longlist, so that drew my interest. Consent and No One is Talking About This also sound interesting.
I haven’t had a lot of success with Ali Smith, even though people love her books. And I don’t know much about the other authors.
Have you read any of the books on this list, or any of the authors – and if so, what did you think? Are there other award lists you follow?