I am nine days late. Still, the Women’s Prize for fiction is my favourite annual event.
So here I am today, with the sun shining and my nose dripping (due to Hay Fever) I am checking out the longlist.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah (Nigerian, third novel)
- Margaret Atwood Maddaddam (Canadian, 14th novel)
- Suzanne Berne The Dogs of Littlefield (American, fourth novel)
- Fatima Bhutto The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (Pakistani, first novel)
- Claire Cameron The Bear (Canadian, second novel)
- Lea Carpentar Eleven Days (American, first novel)
- MJ Carter The Strangler Vine (British, first novel)
- Eleanor Catton The Luminaries (New Zealand/Canadian, second novel)
- Deborah Kay Davies Reasons She Goes to the Woods (British, second novel)
- Elizabeth Gilbert The Signature of All Things (American, second novel)
- Hannah Kent Burial Rites (Australian, first novel)
- Rachel Kushner The Flamethrowers (American, second novel)
- Jhumpa Lahiri The Lowland (Indian/American, second novel)
- Audrey Magee The Undertaking (Irish, first novel)
- Eimear McBride A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Irish, first novel)
- Charlotte Mendelson Almost English (British, fourth novel)
- Anna Quindlen Still Life With Bread Crumbs (American, seventh novel)
- Elizabeth Strout The Burgess Boys (American, fourth novel)
- Donna Tartt The Goldfinch (American, third novel)
- Evie Wyld All the Birds, Singing (British, second novel)
This year’s longlist, revealed on the eve of International Women’s Day 2014, featuring two previous Orange Prize winners; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who is longlisted for her third novel, and Suzanne Berne longlisted for her fourth novel. One author appearing on this year’s list has previously been longlisted for the Prize and a further five authors have been shortlisted. Jhumpa Lahiri and Donna Tartt are strong contenders, and this year’s Booker Prize winner Luminaries is longlisted as well.
There are only four British writers here. The Guardian Professor David Brauner ( who taught at the Reading University) mentioned that the British novelists were overly cautious and parochial compared with Americans, who had more nerve, more ambition and relied more heavily “on imagination and the power of language to create worlds that are unfamiliar”. Brauner also goes on to say the prizes were exposing a malaise in British writing that he had detected several years ago. “There’s a cautiousness, a parochialism, a tendency to write carefully crafted, carefully researched fiction and a reluctance to be boldly imaginative.
Even the best English fiction writers – Hilary Mantel is an obvious example – are very heavily reliant on historical research. I am not sure if I agreed to that. My reading list has been mostly British for several years and I must say that I have enjoyed most of them. It was the carefully crafted and carefully researched fiction that I loved the most.
It is an exceptional long list here. I have read Americanah and love it and hope at some point in time able to read some of the 14 I have in hand, which I have highlighted in amber.
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony to be held in The Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall on 4 June 2014. Can someone tell me when the shortlist will be announced?!! It goes without saying that I am annoyed with the new website design of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It seems to be dumbed down and as a result I can’t seem to find anything interesting without spending too much time on it.
What about you? Are you planning to read some of this? All of this? which ones are you most interested in reading?
Postscript: The six shortlist will be announced on the 7th April 2014, Monday. Leaving you not much time to make up your mind about the longlist, not unless you are like the judges, skim read to make your shortlist decision. ;)