The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Shadow Panel Winner 2017

On Sunday morning, our Baileys Prize Shadow Panel met in central London to decide our winner. As Antonia tweeted on Sunday morning, meeting regardless of Saturday night’s attack to discuss books was our rebellion. And a cracking discussion it was too.

Before I reveal our winner, I want to give an honourable mention to a book which didn’t make our shortlist. When you shadow a prize such as the Baileys, which has a particularly long longlist, you read and judge the books in a short period of time. The process doesn’t allow for books to settle and, as you’ll know, some books lose their impact over time, others grow. We felt we’d done one particularly book a disservice by leaving it off the shortlist as, during the intervening weeks, it has grown in stature for us due to it’s ambition. That book is Barkskins by Annie Proulx. We recommend it heartily to you now and hope it will find a larger readership.

L-R: Antonia Honeywell, Eric Karl Anderson, Meera Betab, Naomi Frisby, Eleanor Franzen

Our winner then… a completely unanimous decision for it’s style, beautiful writing, engrossing storyline, political history and the way it deals with such complex issues in a thoughtful way without sacrificing story…

Click on the cover to read my review.

A huge thank you to Antonia, Eric, Meera and Eleanor, it’s been a pleasure to read and discuss the books with them.

The winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 is announced on the evening of Wednesday 7th June.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 Shadow Panel

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Shadowing the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is always one of my highlights of the reading year. Being introduced to new authors, championing brilliant books, having a tantrum when my favourite doesn’t make the shortlist/win; I love it all.

For the third year, I’m being joined by a panel of four fantastic book lovers. If you’ve followed us in previous years, you’ll be familiar with Eric Karl Anderson and Antonia Honeywell. Joining us this year are Meera Betab and Eleanor Franzen. You can find out more about all of us below.

Please do follow the conversation on Twitter and our blogs. If you’re reading along, we’d love to hear your thoughts. The longlist is announced on Wednesday 8th March, International Women’s Day.

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Naomi Frisby runs The Writes of Woman, a celebration of female writers and their work. Her short stories have been shortlisted for The White Review Prize and longlisted for Manchester Fiction Prize. She enjoys interviewing writers both for the blog and at bookshops and literary festivals. She is working towards a PhD in Creative Writing. Find her on Twitter @Frizbot.

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Eric Karl Anderson is an American-born writer who has lived in London for over a decade and runs the book blog www.LonesomeReader.com. He’s author of the novel ENOUGH and was a judge of the 2015 Green Carnation Prize. He’s also keen on baking and watching disaster movies. Find him on Twitter @LonesomeReader.

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Meera Betab is a welfare rights lawyer, writer and lover of books from West London. She appears in Dividing Lines, an anthology of short stories on the theme of Borders, Boundaries and Belonging, published by Dahlia Publishing in Spring 2017. Find her on Twitter @MeeraBetab.

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Eleanor Franzén is a bookseller at Heywood Hill in Mayfair, and blogs about books at www.ellethinks.wordpress.com. She is writing her first novel, lives in South London, and has more books than clothes. Find her on Twitter @EleanorFranzen.

Antonia Honeywell copyright Chris Honeywell

Antonia Honeywell is a teacher, a writer and an avid and promiscuous reader. Her debut novel, The Ship, a haunting dystopian fable for our times, is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson. She enjoys supporting aspiring writers through her work with @Womentoringwww.antoniahoneywell.com Find her on Twitter @antonia_writes.