The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2016

Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016 Longlisted Books1

8th March 2016: The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announces its 2016 longlist, comprised of 20 books that celebrate the best of fiction written by women

Here they are, the 20 books longlisted for this year’s Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. In alphabetical order (of author’s surname):

A God In Ruins – Kate Atkinson

Rush Oh! – Shirley Barrett

Ruby – Cynthia Bond

The Secret Chord – Geraldine Brooks

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – Jackie Copleton

Whispers Through a Megaphone – Rachel Elliott

The Green Road – Anne Enright

The Book of Memory – Petina Gappah

Gorsky – Vesna Goldsworthy

The Anatomist’s Dream – Clio Gray

At Hawthorn Time – Melissa Harrison

Pleasantville – Attica Locke

The Glorious Heresies – Lisa McInerney

The Portable Veblen – Elizabeth McKenzie

Girl at War – Sara Nović

The House at the Edge of the World – Julia Rochester

The Improbability of Love – Hannah Rothschild

My Name Is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

My initial reaction is that the three books I thought were certs are all on there – A God in Ruins, My Name Is Lucy Barton and A Little Life. Very pleased to see all three.

I predicted six of the titles, which is my highest success rate ever! Very pleased to see Girl at War on the list as well as The Portable Veblen. I’ve enjoyed all those I’ve already read, which includes The Green Road which I haven’t posted my review for yet.

As for the rest of the list, I’m delighted to see Pleasantville – I loved Black Water Rising and have had the latest on my TBR pile for ages. I’ve also heard good things from people I trust about The Book of Memory, At Hawthorn Time and The Glorious Heresies.

As always with The Bailey’s Prize there are some books I hadn’t heard of before I saw the list. My absolute favourite part of this is reading those titles, there’s always one in there that surprises me with its brilliance. On looking through the blurbs, I can’t believe I hadn’t come across Ruby, it’s had so many fantastic reviews, and The Anatomist’s Dream is perfect for my PhD thesis so I’m very pleased it’s come to my attention.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the reading and debating the books with the rest of the shadow panel. I’m hoping you’ll join in the discussion on our blogs and Twitter too. Can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of the chosen titles.



33 thoughts on “The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2016

  1. Looking forward to hearing the shadow panel’s thoughts over the next few weeks, particularly for the debut novels I’ve never heard of. I’ve only read two – A Little Life and A God in Ruins – but would also like to read Pleasantville and My Name is Lucy Barton soon. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Was so thrilled to see Rush Oh! get up (particularly as it missed out on the Stella Prize longlist) and equally pleased that The Portable Veblen made it. Shame that Eileen missed out.

    I’ve read a few on the longlist – I reckon Lucy Barton will be a strong contender, as well as A God in Ruins.

    Would like to say I’ll be reading them all but reading the Stella Prize shortlist this year, so not sure how much I’ll fit in *first-world problems!*


  3. Such an exciting list! I bought Ruby last May and just started reading it last night… reckon I must have sensed something in the ether. 🙂 I’ve only read a few pages but it already reads like a classic. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the long-listed books!


  4. As always many of these are books I’ve not heard of…. I finally got to the top of the library waiting list for Lucy Barton which I’m not surprised to se on the list given the reviews I’ve read. Girl at War I gave up on. The Gren Road was so so.


  5. It will be lovely to see all of your reviews – I love this prize and I’m slowly making my way through the winners in previous years – they have all been first class!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Delighted that there are 11 debuts ! Only three of my own wishes came true – A God in Ruins, The Book of Memory and My Name is Lucy Barton – but I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of the list and cheering the shadow panel on from the sidelines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ll need the cheering so thanks in advance! I don’t share your delight in the high number of debuts, I’m afraid. It concerns me as to what’s happening to writers third, fourth, fifth books. How do you carve out a career?


      • There seems to be lots of debuts being published to me, I don’t know if I’m getting a skewed view. I think getting the second book published seems to be becoming more difficult as two book deals are rare these days.


  7. Yissssss!! Rush Oh!’s presence there makes me so happy. Girl At War is a tiny bit disappointing–I read it in the spring and thought it was an excellent debut effort but the prose was very uneven. Seems like there’s always at least one like that, though (cf. The Bees from last year).

    I’ve already asked for six of the longlist. A God In Ruins is not one of the ones I requested–for some reason, I don’t actually *want* to read it. This is almost certainly because I am not-so-subconsciously prejudiced against reading WWII books, but if it gets onto the shortlist, I may have to. Everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s brilliant. Hrmph.


    • I thought Girl at War was very good and would take it over Rush Oh! even though I enjoyed that one too.

      It’s not a WWII book, it’s really not. There are scenes in the war, yes (and bloody brilliant ones too) but it’s more a portrait of a family. Also, Kate Atkinson’s one of our best contemporary writers and this is her masterpiece. If I was betting, my money would be on it to win.


      • That’s a surprise! Always amusing to see how tastes differ.

        I know I should read it. I know. And I absolutely adored Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, and Behind the Scenes At the Museum, so there’s zero reason for me to think I’ll dislike this one. Argh. I bet it’ll be on the shortlist and I’ll definitely read it then.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m pleased that I have at least heard of most of these, even though I’ve only read one. I’m already curious to see how the shadow panel’s shortlist predictions will compare to the official one. I’m most intrigued by The Book of Memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re doing better than me then! I had to look up quite a few last night. Think we were in agreement over four last year. It’s really interesting to do as a panel because you find yourself compromising over books you wouldn’t expect!


  9. Pingback: In the Media: March 2016, Part Two | The Writes of Woman

  10. Pingback: At Hawthorn Time – Melissa Harrison | The Writes of Woman

  11. Pingback: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers | The Writes of Woman

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