My wish list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016

Here we go again and in my middle-aged way I can’t believe it’s that time already.  The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist is due to be announced next Tuesday. Only novels written by women in English published between April 1st 2015 and March 31st 2016 qualify for the award. It’s one of the few prizes I pay much attention to these days so I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to see listed.  What follows is entirely subjective, wishes rather than predictions. The most striking thing I’ve noticed while compiling the list is the number of excellent novels I’ve read by women published in 2016 – and it’s only February. I’ve followed the same format as last year, restricting myself to novels that I’ve read with a link to a full review on this blog for all but His Whole Life which I’ve read but not yet reviewed. So, in alphabetical order here’s my wish list for the 2016 Baileys Prize:

A God in Ruins                                The Heart Goes Last                The Versions of Us

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Spill Simmer Falter Wither       The Other Side of the World                 Exposure

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Under the Visible Life                    The Book of Memory                    Paulina & Fran

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His Whole Life                                 The Lives of Women                    The Ballroom

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The Long Room                           The Mountain Can Wait                            Tender

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Early Warning                               My Name is Lucy Barton                Love Me Back

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I’d like to think that a few of these are dead certs but long years of hoping that Kate Atkinson will be garlanded with every prize going has taught me that there’s no such thing. Others, like Merritt Tierce’s superb debut, are rank outsiders but as with dead certs you never can tell.

What about you?  I’d love to know which books you’d like to see the Baileys judges plump for, dead certs or rank outsiders.

21 thoughts on “My wish list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016

  1. naomifrisby

    Interesting choices, Susan. I’ve not quite finalised my list as I read The Living by Anjali Joseph over the weekend and that’s going on it now, so something’s got to come off! We’ve got six in common, although I think we’ve learnt from previous years that just because we’re rooting for the same books doesn’t mean they’ll be the ones the judges go for! Having said that, Atkinson has to be a cert. I’ll be astounded if A God in Ruins isn’t on the list.

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      I certainly hope so, but then I thought that about Life After Life. I’ll look forward to your list, Naomi.

      Reply
  2. Naomi

    I’m happy to see 3 Canadians on your list – hopefully at least one of them will make it! I guess you must have liked His Whole Life. Looking forward to your review!

    Reply
  3. Alex

    Well, as you know, I don’t think there will be a better book published this year than ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ so I’m nailing my colours to the post for that. Equally, I couldn’t finish ‘The Versions of Us’, so you’ll have to forgive me if I disagree with you over that one. I am halfway through ‘Exposure’, which for reasons I will explain whenI review it, I am finding very difficult to read. However, I have no doubt that it should be there as well. I shall be spending most of that Tuesday in hospital waiting rooms, so constant checking to see if the list is yet available will at least give me something to do!

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      My Name is Lucy Barton falls into the dead cert category for me, Alex, but I’ve learnt my lesson with that! I hope things go well for you at the hospital and that the waiting isn’t too tedious.

      Reply
  4. poppypeacockpens

    Some great choices here, quite a few still on my TBR… certainly echo that surely My Name is Lucy has to be included & for me the one to beat

    One I feel definitely deserves far more attention & would love to see on the longlist is Jennifer Tseng’s Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thanks, Poppy. My fingers are firmly crossed for the Strout. I’m pleased to say that I’ve just spotted a copy of the Tseng in my TBR pile. Must get to it soon.

      Reply
  5. JacquiWine

    The Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the few prizes that seem to generate a significant level of interest at the library, so it’s useful to see your choices. I hope your favourites make it to the longlist, Susan. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thanks, Jacqui, and interesting to hear that the Baileys arouses such a lot of interest in comparison to other prizes. I wonder if it’s both men and women who are keen.

      Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      One of my favourite books from last year, Deepika. Such lyrical writing, and it neatly avoided sentimentality too.

      Reply
  6. A Little Blog of Books

    Great list – I love how everyone’s predictions are so varied. I also want to see Kate Atkinson on the list as well as Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh (both on this year’s Costa Prize list coincidentally). I have a copy of the Margaret Atwood but haven’t read it yet and I want to read My Name is Lucy Barton too. Even though opinions have been divisive, I would still be surprised if A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara wasn’t on there.

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thank you – I hope to see lots more lists soon! I haven’t read either the Kavanagh or the Yanagihara but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the latter pop up next Tuesday.

      Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      A treat in store, Claire. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see an entirely different list from my own next Tuesday but if both the Strout and the Atkinson don’t appear I’ll have to find a tasty hat to eat!

      Reply
  7. shoshibookblog

    Great list – some of which I’ve read an enjoyed and others are very much on the radar (like ‘Spill Simper…’, which was the only one on the Costa Debut list that I didn’t get round to reading last year!)
    Looking forward to next week now!

    Reply
    1. Susan Osborne Post author

      Thank you! I loved the Baume – beautifully expressed and not a hint of sentimentality in it which could easily have slipped in given the subject matter. Fingers crossed that at least a few of these will have caught the judges’ eye.

      Reply
  8. Pingback: It’s Monday and I’m reading Gold Fame Citrus | Olduvai Reads

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