The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014

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.

5 thoughts on “The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014

  1. Now that I look at the judges, I think that’s why this year’s shortlist is very much to my taste… You can’t go wrong with Mary Beard & Denise Mina, while Sophie Raworth & Caitlin Moran add that element of irreverence and surprise. (Sorry, don’t know who Helen Fraser is).


    1. I agree Marina. I didn’t know who Helen Fraser is either. I see from the Baileys Prize website page on the judges that she was the managing director of Penguin Books UK. In 2009, she became chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, a charity.


  2. Hi! I apologise for the self advertising but just wanted to write that my blog is specifically about the Bailey’s/Orange prize since its inauguration. I have reviewed two of the books on the short-list thus far; ‘Americanah’ and ‘Burial Rites’. Hope I might see you there.


  3. Margaret – Thanks for sharing this. That’s a terrific short list and it’ll be really interesting to see who wins.


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