The Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize Longlist 2014

Well it’s after midnight and I’m bleary eyed but here it is, the Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize longlist for 2014.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah

Margaret Atwood – MaddAddam

Suzanne Berne –  The Dogs of Littlefield

Fatima Bhutto – The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

Claire Cameron –  The Bear

Lea Carpenter – Eleven Days

M.J. Carter – The Strangler Vine

Eleanor Catton – The Luminaries

Deborah Kay Davies – Reasons She Goes to the Woods

Elizabeth Gilbert – The Signature of All Things

Hannah Kent – Burial Rites

Rachel Kushner – The Flamethrowers

Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowland

Audrey Magee – The Undertaking

Eimear McBride – A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing

Charlotte Mendelson – Almost English

Anna Quindlen – Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Elizabeth Strout – The Burgess Boys

Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch

Evie Wyld – All The Birds, Singing

First thoughts: I’ve got a lot of reading to do! I’ve read and reviewed seven: The Luminaries, The Flamethrowers, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, Still Life with Breadcrumbs, The Burgess Boys, The Goldfinch and All the Birds, Singing. Am particularly thrilled for Eimear McBride, Anna Quindlen and Evie Wyld. I also think The Burgess Boys has been hugely underrated in the UK, so it will be wonderful to see Elizabeth Strout get the recognition she deserves.

As for the rest, Americanah, Burial Rites, The Lowland and Almost English were already high on my review pile. I have copies of The Signature of All Things and Maddaddam, although Maddaddam’s terrifying me – I love Margaret Atwood’s writing but it’s the third part of a trilogy of which I’ve read nothing and I don’t want to read the end before the beginning. I might have to hide for a long weekend to read that one!

The Dogs of Littlefield, The Bear and Eleven Days were also already on my radar and I’m really looking forward to those.

That leaves four I’ve never heard of, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

As ever, I’ll be linking my reviews on this page as I add to them. I’m excited as to what the next month of reading brings.

21 thoughts on “The Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize Longlist 2014

  1. It’s great reading your reviews of the seven you’ve already read. I’ve only read three so have quite a lot more reading to do myself. I feel really conflicted about whether to start the Atwood since I’ve read the first book but not the second.


    • Thanks, Eric. Yes, the Atwood’s a dilemma for me too but I own all three so should do it in order. It might be that I can’t review it until after the short listing though.


  2. I’ve only read The Burgess Boys, which is incredibly depressing – I’m going to save this as a to-read list! Thanks for sharing this, I am useless at finding out about these things on my own.


    • I love discussing the books with you because although we have slightly different tastes we seem to come to fairly similar conclusions.

      I’m very keen to get to the Gilbert as she’s someone I’ve never been interested in reading although lots of people I trust have said it’s very good.


  3. What a terrific list of books and it’s great to hear that you’ve already read seven of them! I’ve only read four – The Luminaries, All the Birds, Flamethrowers and The Lowland – but a few others are on my shelves at home…although they’ll probably have to wait until I’ve worked through the IFFP longlist.

    I’m really interested to keep in touch with your reviews, though, as we’re planning a bit of a focus on the Women’s Prize for Fiction at our community library and we’re excited about the longlist! I’m especially keen to hear what you think of The Lowland as it really burrowed its way into my consciousness when I read it last year; a slow burner but very affecting. Also, there are quite a few books on here that are unfamiliar to me, so I’ll be following your posts with great interest!


    • Thanks, Jacqui. I’m very excited about the list and it’s great to hear your library are focusing on it.

      I’ve read half of The Lowland as it started it when it was Booker shortlisted last year. I ran out of time with it because of the way I ran the shadow group at school but it’ll be interesting to go back to it. Despite me not being so keen on it the events and characters are very vivid to me still so perhaps it will pay off when I’ve finished it.

      Am very much looking forward to the ones I’m unfamiliar with too.

      We’ll have to swap recommendations when you’ve read the IFFP list – there’s some great books by women on there too. So nice to see such excitement about books!


      • I just dropped into our library as we’re in the process of ordering copies of the longlisted books to set up a WPFF display; we’re hoping it’ll generate quite a bit of interest, fingers crossed.

        Oh, it sounds as though we might end up with a difference of opinion on The Lowland! Really looking forward to hearing what you think when you get back to it.

        Yes, we must exchange thoughts and recommendations as we go through these longlists. Yesterday was a great day for books, wasn’t it? It’s fantastic to see and hear such a buzz about these titles. We just need to knuckle down and continue reading now!


  4. You’re doing much better than me! I’ve only read two and have four on the TBR pile before I hit the library to grab a couple more. I think I’ll be VERY busy now over my hols…

    Also terrified of Maddaddam because it will be my first Attwood. Plus both The Luminaries and The Goldfinch are huge!


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