Those of you who follow my posts with any regularity will know I recently finished making my way through the 2020 longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The highlight of the process was easily the many bookish chats I had with fellow blogging buddies about this year’s selection, and while the general consensus amongst us was that the list wasn’t nearly as strong at it could have been, it got us thinking… What if we had the chance to put together our own longlist? So, that’s exactly what we’ve done!
On the spur of the moment, we decided to use a random draft system, where each of us could select two books for the longlist. Handily, there were 8 of us involved (Emily, Hannah, Marija, Naty, Rachel, Sarah, Steph, and myself), resulting in a longlist of 16 books, as per the official prize. We adhered to the same rules of eligibility, meaning they’re all books written in English by female writers, published in the UK between April 2019 and March 2020. We intend to make our way through the list, comparing notes along the way, before voting on a shortlist and eventual winner.
I’m sure it goes without saying that we aren’t affiliated with the actual Women’s Prize for Fiction in any way. We simply want to have some fun and carry forward the ethos they represent, by championing exciting works by female writers. We haven’t set a precise timeframe for all of this yet, but we decided we’d share the list in case anyone else wants to read along with us (or is simply on the lookout for female-authored book recommendations). So, without further ado, here are the books that made it onto our longlist. For titles I’ve already read, I’ve linked my review, and all are linked on Book Depository, in case you’d like to learn more about them or pick up copies for yourself.
- The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
- My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
- Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Review)
- The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Review)
- Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
- The Body Lies by Jo Baker
- The Fire Starters by Jan Carson
- Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Review)
- Bunny by Mona Awad
- Supper Club by Lara Williams
- My Name is Monster by Katie Hale (Review)
- Actress by Anne Enright (Review)
- Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
- Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson (Review)
As I said, this was put together very spontaneously, purely for fun. It’s not meant to be a perfect list (I’m well aware of how predominantly white it is, for example). It’s merely a bunch of books that between us, we either love or are very excited to get to. We’d be delighted if anyone wanted to pick up some or all of the titles over the coming weeks and months (I will of course share an update if and when we set specific dates for a shortlist/winner). In the meantime, happy reading!
Have you read any of these books? Are there any you plan to pick up?