The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

Times have changed since Norman Mailer asserted that men write with their dicks (Advertisements for Myself) and that women have the wrong genitals to be serious writers, but it is still gratifying for women of my generation to see women’s literature appreciated and honored.  The longlist has been announced for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize and then The Baileys Women’s Prize).  And I’ve already read three on the list and rejected one.

Does that make me qualified to judge?  Sure.

Here is the longlist:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
Milkman by Anna Burns
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lilian Li
Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Praise Songs for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden
Circe by Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney

I loved  Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, a retelling of the Iliad from a woman’s perspective,  and Melissa Broder’s The Pisces, an offbeat novel about a Sappho scholar who falls in love with a merman.  (You can read my thoughts at my old blog, Miribile Dictu, the Barker here and the Broder here.)

I very much disliked Sally Rooney’s Normal People, a novel about two hollow young people, Marianne and Connell, and their hooking up and splitting up and friendship and depression and hooking up again and their years at Trinity.  You can read my thoughts on it here .

And I started Anna Burns’s Milkman, which won the Booker Prize last year.  It filled me with ennui, but if you need a sleeping pill I recommend it!

Do you know any of the books on the longlist? Do you recommend them?

2 thoughts on “The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist”

  1. My focus on backlisted reading has really left me feeling out-of-the-loop when it comes to these prizelists (which I used to follow so loyally, reading every book I could access), but I still enjoy the announcements and maybe eventually I will return to reading them annually. For now, I haven’t read any of these, but I have contemplated several. And I haven’t read Sally Rooney’s book, but it is already one which I’ve decided I’d like to read only in a particular mood, so I will stick with that plan. BTW, I wanted to leave a comment on an earlier post, but the option wasn’t available: is that an auto-setting related to date? I’m often behind on reading posts.

    1. I know you did the shadow Giller and that’s probably enough to keep you busy. There are so many good books on the Women’s Prize list every year, though I haven’t ever read the entire longlist. I did dutifully read many on the Booker longlist for a couple of years, but there are so many good books that don’t make the lists!

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 8:44 AM Thornfield Hall: A Book Blog wrote:


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