Today, eight British titles were announced on the twenty-strong longlist for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
- Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins (Doubleday) relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century.
- Rachel Elliott’s Whispers Through a Megaphone (Pushkin Press imprint One), about Miriam, a woman who hasn’t left her house in three years, and cannot raise her voice above a whisper.
- Julia Rochester’s The House at the Edge of the World (Viking). Part mystery, part psychological drama, this is a darkly comic, unorthodox and thrilling debut.
- Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love (Bloomsbury). A smart, sweeping novel–at once satirical and moving–about love, a famous lost painting, and a dark secret from the past, set in the London art world.
- A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton (Hutchinson). In the tradition of Memoirs of a Geisha and The Piano Teacher, a heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love
- Gorsky by British/Serbian author Vesna Goldsworthy (Chatto & Windus), about an oligarch, Gorsky who has been led to the city by his love for Natalia, whom he first knew in Russia.
- Melissa Harrison for At Hawthorn Time (Bloomsbury). Howard and Kitty have recently moved to Lodeshill after a life spent in London; now, their marriage is wordlessly falling apart.
- Clio Gray’s The Anatomist’s Dream (Mymidon). Meet Philbert, his pig and the Fair of Wonders.
There are also eight entries from American authors, along with two Irish longlisted novels, and novels by an Australian and a Zimbabwean.
Now in its twenty-first year, the Prize is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.
The panel of judges read over 150 books between them, and chair of judges Margaret Mountford said of the longlist: “We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer.”
The 2016 panel of judges also include Naga Munchetty, broadcast journalist, Laurie Penny, writer and journalist, author Elif Shafak and Tracey Thorn, writer and singer.
The panel of judges will whittle these twenty books down to just six shortlisted titles before finally choosing the winner, which will be announced at an awards ceremony held in the Royal Festival Hall on 8th June 2016.
Previous winners include Ali Smith for How to be Both (2015), Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (2014), A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven (2013) and Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles (2012).
The full list of longlisted titles are:
- Kate Atkinson: A God in Ruins
- Shirley Barrett: Rush Oh!
- Cynthia Bond: Ruby
- Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord
- Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
- Jackie Copleton: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding
- Rachel Elliott: Whispers Through a Megaphone
- Anne Enright: The Green Road
- Petina Gappah: The Book of Memory
- Vesna Goldsworthy: Gorsky
- Clio Gray: The Anatomist’s Dream
- Melissa Harrison: At Hawthorn Time
- Attica Locke: Pleasantville
- Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies
- Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen
- Sara Nović: Girl at War
- Julia Rochester: The House at the Edge of the World
- Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love
- Elizabeth Strout: My Name is Lucy Barton
- Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life