The Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist 2016

The judges have made their decision! The absence of Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins is a complete shock. Many of us on the shadow panel thought it was by far one of the best books on the list. The shadow panel shortlist shares three titles with the official shortlist. I’m also pleased to see The Portable Veblen and A Little Life on the list, both of which I rated highly.

Here’s the six shortlisted books. If you click on the cover, it will take you to my review.








16 thoughts on “The Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist 2016

  1. I am getting a bit tired of all the Kate Atkinson snubbing at literary prizes. I mean, she is really, REALLY good, both from an academic and a popular point of view. Her novels are complex and very rich, and I think she could be compared to Margaret Atwood. I wonder what is going wrong here and why? Is she still hated because of all the not-deserved terrible press Behind the Scenes at the Museum got? I’d love to hear what you think, Naomi, obviously without meaning to take away from the shortlisted authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree. The short version of my take on it is that she’s a woman and she sells a lot of books in the UK so people assume she’s a commercial fiction/women’s fiction writer and everything those labels come burdened with. I think because she makes that complexity look easy, people assume her books are lightweight when they are so far from it. I really want to take a month off from everything else I should be doing and write an essay on why I think she’s ignored and why she shouldn’t be. I’m so angry about it.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Neither Kate Atkinson nor Elizabeth Strout! The judges don’t know their business as one of the long listed books which has made the short list is so badly written I was surprised it even made the long list.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t read the Atkinson so can’t comment. Was surprised that Strout missed out but so thrilled that The Portable Veblen made it – a brave choice perhaps but glad the judges recognised this book for its originality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t entirely surprised by the absence of the Strout. I think it’s brevity probably leads people to think it’s slight when it’s actually very rich (although I have an issue with its manipulation of the reader). I’m also pleased to see The Portable Veblen on there – it reminds me of A.M. Homes’ May We Be Forgiven + squirrels.


  4. Totally shocked by absence of the Atkinson, and infuriated by the inclusion of the Rothschild. There’s just no contest if you look purely at the quality of the writing. A bit worried this is going to be a rehash of the year that the Baileys chair banged on about “readability”. Still, the McInerney definitely deserves to be there, and I’m going to read Ruby next, but I expect it does too. The inclusion of Yanagihara just makes me feel yawn-y. It’s had its moment in the spotlight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funnily enough I had a conversation with someone else last night where I suggested that this was all about books that ‘zip along’. I loved Ruby, I’ll be interested to see what you think. I think the Yanagihara deserves to be there for the sheer achievement of it, regardless of personal opinion on the content.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: In the Media, April 2016, Part Two | The Writes of Woman

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