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, February 2017

In the media is a fortnightly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous fortnight 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. I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as as traditional media are likely and the categories used are a guide, not definitives.

I’ve been a bit lax at compiling these while I’ve focused on my own work. It means this month’s is huge and I haven’t honed in on any topic in particular as the news moves so fast at that moment it feels like an impossible task. Back to fortnightly after this which hopefully will make it slightly easier to digest.

 

rowan-hisayo-buchanan

On or about books/writers/language:

feebos

Personal essays/memoir:

tobi-oredein-pic-1

Feminism:

gaby-hinsliff

Society and Politics:

daniel_dash

Film, Television, Music, Art, Fashion and Sport:

yiyun-li-580_65897a

The interviews/profiles:

louiseoneillfeaturepic1_large

The regular columnists:

In the Media, May 2016, Part Two

In the media is a fortnightly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous fortnight 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. I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as as traditional media are likely and the categories used are a guide, not definitives.

5760

It seems there’s been a return to traditional topics this fortnight. Having children (or not) and body image are back at the top of the agenda. On the former, Daisy Buchanan wrote, ‘I’m economically infertile, and I’ve made peace with that‘ on The Pool; Stephanie Merritt, ‘Sheryl Sandberg admits she did not get how hard it is to be a single mother‘ on The Pool; Ashley Patronyak, ‘A Slight Risk‘ in Guernica; Jordan Rosenfeld, ‘On Discovering Real Mothers on the Page‘ on Literary Hub; Diana Abu-Jaber, ‘Motherhood vs. Art: There Is No Wrong Choice‘ on Literary Hub; Rivka Galchin, ‘Why Does Literature Hate Babies‘ on Literary Hub; Willa Paskin, ‘Speak, Motherhood‘ on Slate; Jennifer Gilmore,’I’m Glad My Mother Worked‘ on The Cut, and Louise O’Neill, ‘I think I would be a good mother; I just don’t want to be one‘ in The Irish Examiner.

Discussions about body image seems to be around the publication of two new books: Shrill by Lindy West and Dietland by Sarai Walker. West wrote, ‘The ‘perfect body’ is a lie. I believed it for a long time and let it shrink my life‘ in The Guardian. Walker was interviewed in The Bookseller and The Pool. And Mallory Ortberg wrote, ‘“We would have paid her the same if she weighed 500 pounds”: Publishing, Weight, and Writers Who Are “Hard To Look At”‘ in The Toast

And then there was this: the men-only bookclub who only read books about men. LV Anderson at Slate decided to tell us all off for being outraged about it, ‘Feminists Shouldn’t Roll Our Eyes at Men-Only Books Clubs. We Should Applaud Them‘.

This fortnight saw the deaths of Sally Brampton and Geek Love author, Katherine Dunn. Kathryn Flett wrote, ‘Sally Brampton – the woman who made ‘Elle girls’ the new normal‘ in The Guardian and Daisy Buchanan wrote, ‘Depression is not a battle that can be won or lost‘ on The Pool.

big_brother_by_lion_341468a

The best of the rest:

On or about books/writers/language:

http3a2f2fstatic01-nyt_-com2fimages2f20142f052f082farts2fbook2fbook-videosixteenbynine1050_0

Personal essays/memoir:

9b5e0453-6c4c-4cbd-93b8-0fd9f964fae7-680x1020

Feminism:

chmret9wkaajn53

Society and Politics:

609-310x375

Film, Television, Music, Art, Fashion and Sport:

broder22

The interviews/profiles:

CTH-Roxane-Gay.jpg_CTAdTab_08-10-2014_ALL_SUN_IA6VGBCV.jpg

The regular columnists:

In the Media, April 2016, Part Two

In the media is a fortnightly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous fortnight 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. I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as as traditional media are likely and the categories used are a guide, not definitives.

charlotte-bront-007

It’s the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth. Contributors including Sarah Waters, Margaret Drabble and Jeanette Winterson reflect on Jane Eyre in The Guardian; Samantha Ellis wrote about ‘The Greatest Heroines of All Time‘ on the BBC, and Sam Jordison asked, ‘Reading Jane Eyre: can we truly understand Charlotte Brontë or her heroine today?‘ in The Guardian. The Brontë Blog is doing an excellent job of curating everything and well worth having a look at.

The Guardian commissioned some research into the 70 million comments which have been left on its website since 2006. The results revealed that while the highest commenters are white men, the most abuse was left on articles by eight women writers and two male writers of colour. The only people who seemed surprised were white men. It’s great to have statistical evidence in support of this but listening to female writers and male writers of colour and acting on it might be a good idea too. Jessica Valenti, the most targeted writer wrote, ‘Insults and rape threats. Writers shouldn’t have to deal with this‘.

Andrew Piper and Richard Jean So decided to carry out some analysis regarding the words used in book reviews of books by male and female writers, ‘Women Write About Family, Men Write About War‘ in the New Republic details their findings.

cf1p1ydwwaad_c5

The Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced this week. Hanya Yanagihara has ‘A Little Life – A Photo Story‘ on the Picador Blog; Anne Enright, Elizabeth McKenzie, Hanya Yanagihara and Lisa McInerney are interviewed on the Baileys’ Prize blog, along with longlistees Shirley Barrett, Vesna Goldsworthy, Becky Chambers, Julia Rochester and Kate Atkinson. Some of us (myself included) were shocked that Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins failed to make the shortlist, Eleanor Franzen considers why on Litro.

And in Australia, the Miles Franklin literary award longlist was announced with books by women taking five of the nine slots.

avatar-320x320px

The best of the rest:

On or about books/writers/language:

faith-adiele

Personal essays/memoir:

enhanced-32006-1443696004-2

Feminism:

paris-rt

Society and Politics:

Film, Television, Music, Art, Fashion and Sport:

yvvette-edwards-portrait-007

The interviews/profiles:

juno-dawson2_glamour_6ap16_becky-maynes_b

The regular columnists:

In the Media: March 2016, Part Two

In the media is a fortnightly round-up of features written by, about or containing female writers that have appeared during the previous fortnight 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. I’m using the term ‘media’ to include social media, so links to blog posts as well as as traditional media are likely and the categories used are a guide, not definitives.

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

The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was announced this fortnight. While former winner, Lionel Shriver declared ‘Women’s literary prizes are ‘problematic’‘.

And the Wellcome Book Prize announced their shortlist with four (out of six) female writers on it, as did the YA Book Prize with eight women writers on its ten book shortlist.

Elena Ferrante is hot news in the literary world once again after Corriere della Sera published an article in which Marco Santagata claimed to know her identity. Rachel Donadio wrote, ‘Who Is Elena Ferrante? An Educated Guess Causes a Stir‘ in The New York Times; Jonathan Sturgeon said, ‘We Already Know the Identity of Elena Ferrante‘ on Flavorwire; Lincoln Michel asked, ‘Why Do We Care Who the “Real” Elena Ferrante Is?‘ on Electric Literature; Stassa Edwards asked, ‘What’s Really Behind Our Obsession Over Unmasking Elena Ferrante?‘ on Jezebel; John Dugdale wrote, ‘Will Elena Ferrante outlast Louisa May Alcott’s secret alter ego?‘ in The Guardian, and Jessica Roy declared, ‘Leave Elena Ferrante Alone‘ in The Cut.

Anita Brookner died. Rebecca Hawkes wrote her obituary while Linda Grant wrote, ‘Why Anita Brookner’s funny, sharp novels got under your skin‘ both in The Telegraph.

The best of the rest:

dundee

On or about books/writers/language:

Sara Novic

large_11887848_10153035239560222_910588331403521469_n

Personal essays/memoir:

caitlinmoran

Feminism:

eternity_martis

Society and Politics:

sonia_saraiya_square

Film, Television, Music, Art, Fashion and Sport:

81zkusmkf5l-_ux250_

The interviews:

1_articleimage

The regular columnists: