Literary debuts dominate this year’s longlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. 20 novels appear on the longlist, and 11 of them are by first-time authors, marking a tie for the highest number in the prize’s history.
Four novelists to make the cut have previously been shortlisted for the annual award (Kate Atkinson, Anne Enright, Attica Locke and Elizabeth Strout).
The honor, formerly known as the Orange Prize, is bestowed upon the best full-length novel of the year — as decided by a panel of judges — written by a woman and published in the UK. This year’s jury, chaired by lawyer and businesswoman Margaret Mountford, is comprised of author Elif Shafak, journalists Naga Munchetty and Laurie Penny and writer and singer Tracey Thorn.
Shafak said the prevalence of first-time novelists on the list “shows the flexibility and the strength of the prize. It is a very encouraging sign for new writers of all ages.”
Among the authors to land on the list is Petina Gappah for “The Book of Memory.” Gappah is making history — she’s the first Zimbabwean author to be featured in the prize’s longlist. In total, seven nationalities are represented on the list.
The prestigious literary award was launched in 1996. The inspiration for the Baileys Prize came from the 1991 installment of the Booker Prize: Zero books shortlisted for the famed fiction award were by women, though about 60% of the novels published that year were penned by female authors.
The shortlist for the Baileys Prize will be announced April 11, and the winner revealed June 8 at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
In addition to a check for £30,000 (over $42,000 USD), the winner will receive a bronze figurine.
Ali Smith took home the prize last year for “How to be Both.”
See the complete 2016 longlist below, reproduced from the BBC:
– Kate Atkinson – A God in Ruins (Doubleday) – British – 9th Novel
– Shirley Barrett – Rush Oh! (Virago) – Australian – 1st Novel
– Cynthia Bond – Ruby (Two Roads) – American – 1st Novel
– Geraldine Brooks- The Secret Chord (Little, Brown) – Australian/ American – 5th Novel
– Becky Chambers – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Hodder & Stoughton) – American – 1st Novel
– Jackie Copleton – A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding (Hutchinson) – British – 1st Novel
– Rachel Elliott – Whispers Through a Megaphone (One, an imprint of Pushkin Press) – British – 1st Novel
– Anne Enright – The Green Road (Jonathan Cape) – Irish – 6th Novel
– Petina Gappah – The Book of Memory (Faber & Faber) – Zimbabwean – 1st Novel
– Vesna Goldsworthy – Gorsky (Chatto & Windus) – British/ Serbian – 1st Novel
– Clio Gray – The Anatomist’s Dream – (Myrmidon) – British – 8th Novel
– Melissa Harrison – At Hawthorn Time (Bloomsbury) – British – 2nd Novel
– Attica Locke – Pleasantville (Serpent’s Tail) – American – 3rd Novel
– Lisa McInerney – The Glorious Heresies (John Murray) – Irish – 1st Novel
– Elizabeth McKenzie – The Portable Veblen (Fourth Estate) – American – 2nd Novel
– Sara Novic – Girl at War (Little, Brown) – American – 1st Novel
– Julia Rochester – The House at the Edge of the World (Viking) – British – 1st Novel
– Hannah Rothschild – The Improbability of Love ( Bloomsbury) – British – 1st Novel
– Elizabeth Strout – My Name is Lucy Barton (Viking) – American – 5th Novel
– Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life (Picador) – American – 2nd Novel