The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 Longlist

The Women’s Prize for Fiction longest arrived at midnight last night and, as ever, is an eclectic mix of books ranging from established writers to debut authors.

I’m delighted to see three of my books of 2018 on there – Milkman by Anna Burns, Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss and The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.

From the 2019 crop, I interviewed Lillian Li last month about her excellent debut Number One Chinese Restaurant and Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer is a wild anti-patriarchal ride. I’m thrilled that Valeria Luiselli is there with her English language debut Lost Children Archive (which I’ll cover soon); I’ve championed her work since her debut in translation Faces in the Crowd (translated by Christina MacSweeney), which I reviewed for Bookmunch in 2012. I’m also very pleased to see the inclusion of Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, which I’m currently halfway through. Emezi identifies as non-binary trans and I think it’s hugely important that The Women’s Prize takes a step forward and embraces writers who identify outside the gender binary.

On a personal note, I made a decision at the beginning of the year that I wouldn’t be shadowing this year’s prize. Although the time between the longlist and shortlist announcements has been extended to eight weeks, reading and reviewing up to sixteen books in that time is still a stretch. I’m teaching 80% of my time at the moment, am about to begin reading for the MLF brochure, and I’m trying to finish writing my PhD thesis this year. Speaking of which, my new PhD supervisor, Yvonne Battle-Felton is on the longlist with her debut Remembered. I’m delighted for her but am also pleased to be living without the awkwardness of having to review a book by someone I’m working with! I will read and cover some of the other books but I’m enjoying choosing what I want to read, when I want to read it. I am looking forward to everyone else’s take on the list though and seeing which books emerge as favourites for the shortlist.

The full list:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
Milkman by Anna Burns
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lilian Li
Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Praise Songs for the Butterflies by Bernice L McFadden
Circe by Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney

In the Media: 23rd November 2014

In the media is a weekly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous week and I think are insightful, interesting and/or thought provoking. Linking to them is not necessarily a sign that I agree with everything that’s said but it’s definitely an indication that they’ve made me think. Also, just a note to make it clear that I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as traditional media are likely.

It’s been Ursula K. Le Guin’s week. Awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards, she gave a widely praised speech about the need for freedom. You can watch it here, or read the transcript here. She’s interviewed on Salon, in The Guardian by Hari Kunzru and there’s a piece on where she gets her ideas from on Brain Pickings

Arundhati Roy and Megham Daum are the women with the second most coverage this week. Roy’s in Prospect, talking about ‘India’s Shame‘ and the caste system and interviewed in The Observer, where there are plenty of unnecessary comments about her looks. While Daum is interviewed on FSG’s website, in The Guardian and on The Cut.

The best of the rest articles/essays:

The interviews:

If you want some fiction/poetry to read:

The lists:

And the best things I’ve read this week: