One of UK’s most celebrated and prestigious literary prizes, The Women’s Prize for Fiction is annually presented to a female author, from any nationality, honouring the best original full-length novel written in English. It needs to published in UK in the preceding year. The shortlist of this year is out and features a diverse range of nationalities, stories and voices.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Milkman by Anna Burns, Ordinary People by Diana Evans, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and Circe by Madeline Miller are a few books that have been shortlisted.
This year, most of the novels consist of the retellings of women in history. Barker’s novel is a fascinating retelling of The Iliad while in Circe, Miller weaves a fresh tale on the witch who seduced Odysseus. The list also features Milkman, winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
“It’s a fantastic shortlist; exciting, vibrant, adventurous. We fell totally in love with these books and the amazing worlds they created. These books are fiction at its best – brilliant, courageous and utterly captivating,” Kate Williams, chair of the judges professor was quoted as saying in a report in The Bookseller.
“I was involved in starting the Women’s Prize all those years ago and was the editor of the first ever winner of what was then called The Orange Prize (A Spell of Winter [Penguin] by Helen Dunmore). I was also for many years on the Board of the prize, so it holds a very special place in my heart,” Clare Alexander, literary agent at Aitken Alexander Associates was quoted as saying.
“It is thrilling to represent half of the 2019 short list. I have worked with Pat Barker, first as her editor and now as her agent, since the late 80s. Diana Evans became a client in 2003 and Oyinkan Braithwaite is a new client, so it is especially wonderful to see authors who I have worked with throughout my career getting the recognition they so richly deserve,” she added.