The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

It’s here! The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015 is as follows:

Rachel Cusk: Outline

Lissa Evans: Crooked Heart

Patricia Ferguson: Aren’t We Sisters?

Xiaolu Guo: I Am China

Samantha Harvey: Dear Thief

Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing

Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven

Grace McCleen: The Offering

Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star

Heather O’Neil: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

Laline Paull: The Bees

Marie Phillips: The Table of Less Valued Knights

Rachel Seiffert: The Walk Home

Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone

Ali Smith: How to be both

Sara Taylor: The Shore

Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread

Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests

Jemma Wayne: After Before

PP Wong: The Life of a Banana

I’ve read and reviewed six of those already, if you hover over the titles, I’ve linked to my reviews.

Initial thoughts are I’m absolutely thrilled for Lissa Evans whose book I love and made my end of year list last year. Also very pleased for Sara Taylor whose debut I’ve read but not posted my review of yet (it’s published later this month), which is very good. I’ve got lots of reading to do but many of the books there are books I’ve had in my to be read pile for a while! (I also need to apologise to the person who commented on my wish list and mentioned Heather O’Neill’s book; I didn’t think it was eligible and clearly I was wrong. I’m pleased it comes highly recommended though.)

I’m looking forward to reading the rest and discussing with the rest of the shadow panel. Please do join in and let us know what you think of the list and any of the books you read.

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35 thoughts on “The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2015

  1. Wow! Quite a list! And er, phew! As I only own 3 – none read yet – glad I’m not shadowing BUT I will be following your panel with keen interest… Would make an impressive #TBR20!

    Is there a specific order you will all read/comment on? Or just random as it happens posts?

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    • Thanks, Poppy, hope you enjoy the discussions. No order – there’ll be some swapping of copies of books along the way, I should think and people have read different novels for starters too. I began reading the Ali Smith earlier as I expected it to be on the list, so I guess that will be my next review. It’s going to be head down for the next four weeks! Seven down, thirteen to go…

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  2. I’ve read only one (Sarah Waters) and own another three (Station Eleven, Elizabeth Is Missing, Dear Thief) which I’ll read, once I get through what I’m reading now. Never heard of the PP Wong book, nor Jenna Wayne, nor Marie Phillips, tbh. I can’t get on with Ali Smith AT ALL – I’ve tried to read three of her books but I just don’t enjoy them, which I feel really guilty about, as she’s a fellow Scot! (This also makes me feel incredibly thick!) Crooked Heart is a book has been hovering in the will I/won’t I read category, but having just read your review I think I will! (Wonder if I’d be able to scrounge a review copy?!) First of all, though, I’m reading the ones I do have!

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  3. Wails ……I’ve only read 6 !!! Huge amount of reading to do !!! Having said that a number of those chosen have been on my TBR ( or in my mind ) for quite some time . A few are real surprises ……!!!!

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    • Not too bad – 14 to read; 4 weeks = 3.5 books per week. If you can read quickly and are prepared to abandon your other reads, it IS do-able. Can I ask – I’m assuming if this is the longlist, then in 4 weeks do they release a shortlist? How many books are on that? At least it’s not the Booker – their longlist’s about 80, isn’t it, PLUS some aren’t even out yet (and a lot of them are, let’s be brutal, crap!) I’ve just noticed Dept Of Speculation is omitted – that’s a wee bit of a surprise (plus I have it, and I’ve heard it’s a quick read! Downer!)

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      • The shortlist is six books on the 13th April. Nearly five weeks away so it is doable but yes, does involve abandoning everything else.

        The Booker longlist is thirteen; I think you’re thinking of the Folio Prize.

        Department of Speculation was eligible last year and didn’t make it – despite Eimear McBride’s win last year, the Bailey’s has a reputation for being fairly ‘traditional’ in its choices.

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      • I did wonder, as I thought it’d be a definite! I thought of trying to work out possibles but having to examine publication dates would drive me batty. It must be the Folio Prize I’m thinking of – I thought the Booker listed a list of 80-odd books but maybe that’s every one entered? We were all hugely excited when a girl I briefly shared a flat with at Uni, Louise Welsh, was on it with her first – and best – book, The Cutting Room. Think it was a bit too “crime” though. Alan Warner, who’s from here, has also popped up on a couple of prize longlists too. I feel I should read his books, as he’s local, but I’m not a huge fan…I didn’t read the Eimear McBride – bit intimidating. I’m assuming Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State also didn’t qualify because of dates? This is my FAVOURITE prize, as it tends to be books I’d veer towards anyway, and as you say, it’s fairly traditional, so not too scary for thick people like me! Going to look forward to everyone’s posts, and I’ll try and get through as many as possible too…

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      • The McBride’s not as difficult as it looks – if you read it aloud, you’ll get the hang of the rhythm. An Untamed State did qualify, a few others I’m gutted not to see on the list. Hope you enjoy the reading!

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      • Yes I can see the theory !! Although of course in practice there is a full time job and life !
        I think the shortlist is on 10/4 and there are 6 books on it ….but Naomi is the expert !

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      • I’m sure I will – I’ve read some great reviews of The Bees,so may try to get to that. Roxane Gay missing is a shock. Thanks for the tip on Eimear McBride – Irvine Welsh is like that in Trainspotting and Skagboys – you have to get accustomed to the voice aloud in your head, then it gets easier!

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    • Seven here – it was the same last year; first year I think I had sixteen to read! Yes, there are always surprises although at least one seems to turn out to be one of the best for me!

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  5. Very Exciting! I’ve not actually read any of these, but I have The Bees and How To Be Both, so I think I’ll start reading there. I’ll probably do as I did last year and try and read all of the shortlist. I’m not sure I have the money for to make my way through the long.

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  6. Only read one of these (oh the shame!) but it was Sarah Waters so of course it was phenomenal. And The Bees has just arrived on my doorstep in an Amazon box, so I’m right on that. Gutted not to see The Wolf Border, though! I finished it a few days ago and think I’m a little in love…

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  7. I’m delighted to see Ali Smith on the list. How are you finding it?

    Good luck with your shadowing – it’s exciting to have several books to look forward to. Quite a few of these names are completely new to me!

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    • Enjoying the Smith very much, though have put to one side so I can read some of the books other people need to borrow first! Tempted to skive a day off uni work to read it in one go, it seems like the sort of book that might benefit from it.

      Thanks, Jacqui. I came across so many new to me writers who became favourites the first year I did this; there’s only one I didn’t know this time but I’m definitely pleased to be reading a stack I’ve had in the house for a while!

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