In 1991, none of the shortlisted books for the Booker Prize were written by a woman, despite 60% of novels published that year being by female authors. So a group of women and men working in the industry – authors, publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, journalists – met to discuss the issue and found that research showed that women’s literary achievements were often not acknowledged by the major literary prizes. So, the idea for the Women’s Prize for Fiction – previously the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction – was born.
Last week, the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 was announced: 16 titles were reduced down to 6 by a judging panel including Pandora Sykes, Anita Sethi, Dorothy Koomson, Lorraine Candy and Chair of Judges, Mary Ann Sieghart. (Watch the judges talk about the 6 books here). Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – was eligible to enter for the prize and the winner, to be announced 15th June, wins £30,000 and a bronze ‘Bessie’ statue, created by the artist Grizel Niven.
According to the Chair of judges and writer, Mary Ann Sieghart, ‘We were blessed with an extraordinarily high quality of submissions this year, which made whittling down the longlist from 16 to six particularly difficult. But the shortlist contains a wonderfully diverse range of stories, subjects, settings and authors, from the experience of a Native American woman in a haunted bookshop to an early female aviator in the Antarctic. One novel is narrated by a tree; another by a book. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, others tearful, and sometimes the two are combined in the same book. We judges have loved reading them all and we commend them to you as the best fiction written by women and published in the past year. Our only problem now will be to identify the winner out of these six brilliant novels.’
There is also the chance to meet the Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlisted authors – plus Gillian Anderson and Jason Isaacs. The Women’s Prize is hosting three nights of exciting live virtual events – and they are offering A Little Bird readers a 10% discount to join in the celebrations. Buy your ticket now using the following code: ALITTLEBIRD10
And we’re thrilled to say that we have the 6 shortlisted books to giveaway (Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki, The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini, The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak, The Sentence by Louise Erdrich). Just enter our prize draw form below and we will pick a winner out of a hat by 5pm on Monday 30th May 2022. Good luck and happy reading!
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