Yet another book award – this one is the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. This year’s judges are Helen Fraser, Caitlin Moran, Sophie Raworth, Mary Beard, and Denise Mina.
It’s not a new award – it was formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, set up in 1996 and is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman in the English language. Previous winners include A.M. Homes, Barbara Kingsolver, Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, Andrea Levy and Kate Grenville.
The books on the shortlist are:
- The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
- A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
Every book on this year’s list, bar The Undertaking, has been previously nominated for a major award – A Girl is a Half-formed Thing was on the inaugural Folio Prize list; Burial Rites was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award; The Lowland made it to the Man Booker shortlist; whilst Americanah beat Donna Tartt’sThe Goldfinch to the American National Book Critics’ Circle Award last year.
The winner, to be announced on 4th June, will receive a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created by the artist Grizel Niven.
The only one of these books I have is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I started to read it in February this year but I’ve only read up to page 87. It has nearly 800 pages, so it’s really too early in the book to make any sort of judgement on it. But, my initial thoughts were that it was going to be a book I could get really engrossed in, but then the story seemed to get swamped in too much detail, too much description and I wanted it to get a move on. So, I stopped reading. I expect I’ll pick it up again soon – I know other book bloggers have rated it highly.
I think Americanah looks very interesting and I loved the two of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books that I’ve read, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, so I’m hoping to read this one too.