The Baileys Prize Announces Its Longlist on International Women’s Day

The Baileys Prize is the annual book award for fiction written by a woman.  Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up “to celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world.”

I am not familiar with most of the books – many have not yet been published in the United States.  I did start Atwood’s Hagseed, but did not finish; it was not as satisfying as Anne Tyler’s rendition of Taming of the Shrew in Vinegar Girl, but I may try again.  Bearskins was another book with a library due date before I could dent its seven hundred pages.  And Do Not Say We Have Nothing has been on my wish list since being shortlisted for the Man Booker.

Of the others nominated, a young girl with a horse appealed to me most – Gailskill’s The Mare, and I may start there.   The Lonely Hearts Hotel sounds appealing too.  Have you read any on the list?

The Longlist:

  • Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Set in Nigeria, “Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage…Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife…Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine…

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman

Girls rule the world – It’s science fiction, of course.   In a dystopian world where Its women develop the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers.  “…teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.”

  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

In Atwood’s modern version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, “the novel centres on a theater director named Felix who is exiled to teaching in a prison after losing his job with Makeshiweg Theatre, and begins to plot his revenge against those who wronged him.”

  • Little Deaths by Emma Flint

“In 1965 working-class Queens, NY, two children go missing and are later found strangled not far from home. The police immediately suspect their mother, Ruth Malone, single and working long hours…”

  • 51gjRDNJ-PL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_The Mare by Mary Gaitskill

“…the story of a Dominican girl, the Anglo woman who introduces her to riding, and the horse who changes everything for her.”

  • The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

“An East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law have been ent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kent.  They find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman. They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and can be had only by inciting rebellion…”

  • The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

Set between 1994 and 1995, it follows 18-year-old Eily, a boozy ingénue, as she leaves her native Ireland to attend drama school in London. There, caught in whirl of excess and the shadow of IRA terrorism, she is mostly assigned stereotypically Irish bit parts, but finds herself captivated by a much older actor named Stephen, an ex-junkie estranged from his family and young daughter. Initially meeting without names, they embark on a tempestuous relationship that reveals the worst in both while offering Stephen a chance at redemption and Eily a future.”

  • Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are men of the land. Suffolk farmers. Times are hard and they struggle to sustain their property, their livelihood and their heritage in the face of competition from big business. But an even bigger, more brutal fight is brewing: a fight between each other, about the horrible death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, in Zambia ten years earlier...

  • The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

“Hellsmouth, an indomitable Thoroughbred with the blood of Triple Crown winners in her veins, runs for the glory of the Forge family, one of Kentucky’s oldest and most powerful dynasties. Henry Forge has partnered with his daughter, Henrietta, in an endeavor of raw obsession: to breed the next superhorse, the next Secretariat. But when Allmon Shaughnessy, an ambitious young black man, comes to work on their farm, the violence of the Forges’ history and the exigencies of appetite are brought starkly into view. Entangled in fear, prejudice, and lust, the three tether their personal dreams of glory to the speed and grace of Hellsmouth.”

  • The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

“…tale of two prickly octogenarians: two women, one black and one white, neighbors who discover after 20 years of exchanging digs and insults that they might help each other.”

  • The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future. “

  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

“…takes place over a single year in the 1890s, in an Essex village where — if the rumours are to be believed — a monstrous sea creature skulks in the estuary, blamed for horrors from disembowelled livestock to a man’s corpse washing up on the marsh, his neck snapped…widow Cora Seagrave is patently relieved by the death of her unpleasant husband, a civil servant…accompanied by her socialist companion Martha… she leaves the capital for the wilds of Essex.

  • Barkskins by Annie Proulx

“…tells the story of two immigrants to New France, René Sel and Charles Duquet, and of their descendants. It spans over 300 years and witnesses the deforestation of the New World from the arrival of Europeans into the contemporary era of global warming…“barkskins,” are indentured servants, transported from Paris slums to the wilds of New France in 1693… to clear the land…”

  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley

“Neve is in her mid-thirties, living in London and married to an older man… past battles have left their scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she describes other loves and other debts—her bullying father and her self-involved mother, a musician who played her, and a series of lonely flights from place to place…”

  • 9780393609882_p0_v2_s192x300Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

“...follows a 10-year-old girl and her mother who invite a Chinese refugee into their home…”  On the Man Booker shortlist.

  • The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

“Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem only a distant echo. An only child, he lives alone with Emilie, the mother he adores but who treats him with bitter severity. He begins an intense friendship with a Jewish boy his age, talented and mercurial Anton Zweibel, a budding concert pianist. The novel follows Gustav s family, tracing the roots of his mother s anti-Semitism and its impact on her son and his beloved friend… one who becomes a hotel owner, the other a concert pianist, The Gustav Sonata explores the passionate love of childhood friendship as it is lost, transformed, and regained over a lifetime…”