Female Authors Celebrated by Women’s Prize for Fiction

The long list of works shortlisted for Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced, honouring both new and well-established writers with seven debuts making the list, writing in a diverse range of genres.

This year’s judging panel: Professor Kate Williams (Chair), author, historian and Professor of History at the University of Reading; Arifa Akbar, journalist and critic; Dolly Alderton, columnist, broadcaster and author; Leyla Hussein, campaigner and psychotherapist; Sarah Wood, digital entrepreneur

Now in its 24th year, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing in English from throughout the world.

The Long List:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

A brilliant retelling of Homer’s epic the Iiliad poem focuses on the cost of war to women through the story of Briseis, Achilles’ concubine.

Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton

Remembered is the debut historical fiction novel by Yvonne Battle-Felton, a story where Spring, an emancipated slave, is forced to relive a haunting past in order to lead her dying son home.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Sibling loyalty comes under pressure in a Lagos-set debut that mixes crime, love story and family saga

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

The Pisces is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

Milkman by Anna Burns

Winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize, Milkman is set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story follows an 18-year-old girl who is harassed by an older married man known as the “milkman”

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

A young Nigerian woman comes to terms with her many selves in this surreal novel rooted in Igbo cosmology

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

A very real portrayal of what couples experience when they hit that wall.

Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

Based on real events, Swan Song is the tragic story of the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women whom Truman Capote called his Swans, and who deserted him after he betrayed them

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward- with hope and pain- into the future.

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lilian Li

A behind-the-scenes look at various aspects of a restaurant, delicious food details, crime and drama—you’ll get all of this in Number One Chinese Restaurant.

Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn

Set in 1970s communist Romania, Sophie van Llewyn’s novella-in-flash draws upon magic realism to weave a tale of everyday troubles, that can’t be put down.

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

A squabbling US couple set out to document the Mexican migrant crisis in Luiselli’s cautious attempt at introducing autofiction to the real world

Praise Songs for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden

Exploring ritual sacrifice in contemporary West Africa, Praise Song offers a fascinating, painful glimpse into a world beyond America’s shores, filled with tragedy and love and hope.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller’s gripping take on the Circe myth will summon you back for a feisty grapple with the Greek gods 

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Ancient rituals and present-day abuse converge in a brief and brilliant novel with its roots in England’s deep past

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rooney crafts a devastating story from a series of everyday sorrows by delicately traversing female and male anxieties over sex, class, and popularity. 

Professor Kate William, Chair of Judges, said of the list:

“The discussion amongst the judges was passionate and there were some really tough choices to make. I am thrilled to share this longlist – sixteen incredible books by a diverse group of women, from the UK and countries across the world, all brilliant stories that sweep you into another world. Each of them have been a privilege to read, and they have taken us into places a million miles from each other, exploring the lives of women and men in so many different but utterly compelling ways.”

The 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist will be announced on April 29 2019 and the winner will be awarded on June 5 2019 at an awards ceremony in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

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