The Women’s Prize shortlist is here and it makes for perfect summer reading

It’s time for another round of books up for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, and as always it’s an incredible shortlist.

Getting away on a hot beach might be looking less possible as the days go by, but whether you head to a British beach or stay put at home, there’s bound to be an award-worthy book here that you’ll want to curl up with and get sucked into.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate women writers and voices annually. It’s open to any woman writing in English, no matter her nationality or country of residence.

This year author of joint Booker 2019 winner Bernardine Evaristo is the chair of judges, and the panel is made up of podcaster and writer Elizabeth Day; TV and radio presenter, writer, Vick Hope; print columnist, Nesrine Malik; and news presenter and broadcaster, Sarah-Jane Mee. AKA, there’s a powerhouse line-up behind the shortlisting.

Speaking of this process, Bernardine says: “Coming up with a longlist of sixteen books for this prize was relatively easy compared to whittling the selection down to six novels, which by necessity demands more consensus.

“[With] this shortlist, we are excited to present a gloriously varied and
thematically rich exploration of women’s fiction at its finest. These novels will take the reader from a rural Britain left behind to the underbelly of a community in Barbados; from inside the hectic performance of social media to inside a family beset by addiction and oppression; from a tale of racial hierarchy in America to a mind-expanding tale of altered perceptions.

“Fiction by women defies easy categorisation or stereotyping, and all of these novels grapple with society’s big issues expressed through thrilling storytelling. We feel passionate about them, and we hope
readers do too.”

This year’s shortlist carries two British authors, two American, one Barbadian, and one Ghanaian-American author. Also, none of the selected authors have been up for the prize before.

The winner will be announced on July 7, when they will be awarded a cheque for £30,000 and a ‘Bessie’ award.

These are the fresh voices in the fiction scene that you need to keep on your radar – here are the six books shortlisted:

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