The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist

It’s here! The six shortlisted books are:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah

Hannah Kent – Burial Rites

Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowland

Audrey Magee – The Undertaking

Eimear McBride – A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing

Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch

(Click the titles for links to my reviews.)

First thought: Oh my goodness, no The Luminaries followed by yessssssss for Americanah and The Undertaking. Four of my wishlist are on, including the two that for me had to be there. Very much looking forward to the debate over these six for the next few weeks.

13 thoughts on “The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist

  1. You are so on to it 🙂 I’ve been out all day and now had dinner and thought I’d check in only to find the announcement just made. Very exciting list and delightfully surprising. Now I want to reread all your reviews. I’ve only read Americanah, but I have been championing it since the Booker and so glad to see it there. The film of Half a Yellow Sun is about to open soon too, so maybe things are looking up for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2014!

    Not sure which one to read next, maybe The Lowland? I don’t want a depressing read, so will choose carefully, I’m saving >i>The Goldfinch for my summer chunkster, I know I’m going to enjoy it.


    • Thanks, Claire. If it was up to me, ‘Americanah’ would win.

      ‘The Lowland’ isn’t really depressing although it’s not the happiest book either. Mind you, none of the short list are!

      ‘The Goldfinch’ is currently causing the biggest debate on my timeline over its inclusion; looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it.


      • From what I have read The Goldfinch seems to attract extreme opinions, I’ll be going into it for pure entertainment! I am quite curious to read Burial Rites, due to the intriguing historical reference and location, always like a bit of a historical connection and enlightenment, even if it’s a little macabre.


  2. The only one I have read is The Goldfinch also shocked at no Luminaries. There are some there I really want to read but I absolutely must not buy any more books just now.


    • Yes, I’m surprised that The Luminaries isn’t there although I can see why people might find it problematic. Having said that, none of the books on the list are flawless. It’ll be interesting to see which one the judges go for.


  3. Not read Americanah but Half a Yellow Sun was stunningly impressive so I understand your rooting for Chimamanda and also of course for the fabulous Undertaking, which I am half way through. I am still meaning to have another go at the Eimear McBride following your recommendation.


  4. It must have been incredibly difficult to whittle down such a long longlist to only six titles. I haven’t actually read any of these (shame) but quite a few seem interesting. Which should I start with? (I’m also okay with starting with The Luminaries, because it very much seems like the sort of book I’d enjoy)


    • It depends what you’re looking for really. ‘The Undertaking’ and ‘The Goldfinch’ are the most straight forward in terms of a linear narrative although the latter is huge. ‘Burial Rites’ is engaging and a relatively quick read. The other three need a bit more time devoted to them although ‘Americanah’ zipped along for me, I was so engrossed. Hope you enjoy whichever you choose.


  5. I’ve only read ‘The Lowland’, but I’m really pleased to see it on the shortlist. I so want to read ‘Americanah’, that’s next up for me (once I’ve finished my IFFP commitments). ‘The Goldfinch’ sounds like my kind of thing, too, but it does sound as if it has divided people. I loved ;The Secret History’ so maybe I’d enjoy this one.


    • My Twitter timeline today has declared The Secret History vastly superior to The Goldfinch. I haven’t read TSH, so I’ll read that and you read TG and we’ll compare notes!


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