Who will be Longlisted for the 2013 Women’s Fiction Prize?

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On Wednesday 13th March the longlist for the 2013 Women’s Fiction Prize will be announced. Previously known as the Orange Prize, it is awarded to the best full length novel, written by a women, that has been published in the UK between 1st April 2012 and 31st March 2013. I’ve been researching the possible candidates and predict that the following books will make the longlist:

The Hired ManTell the Wolves I'm HomeBring Up the BodiesMay We be Forgiven

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

May We be Forgiven by AM Homes

The Round HouseInstructions for a HeatwaveThe ForrestsLightning Rods

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

The Forrests by Emily Perkins

Lightning Rods by Helen Dewitt

NWToby's RoomInsideFlight Behaviour

NW by Zadie Smith

Toby’s Room by Pat Barker

Inside by Alix Ohlin

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

The Twelve Tribes of HattieYThe First Book of Calamity LeekThe Book of Summers

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

Y by Marjorie Celona

The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz

The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall

Amity & SorrowIn the Shadow of the BanyanThe Marlowe PapersThe Yips

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber

The Yips by Nicola Barker

What do you think of my selection?

Who do you think will be longlisted?


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23 Comments

  1. First name that came to my mind was Hilary Mantel, but all your other picks seem likely.

    1. Jackie says:

      Bookworm Chick, Yes. I’d be very surprised if Mantel wasn’t on the longlist, but I hope that another author wins it in the end. I’m still not convinced that the Mantel works as a standalone book.

  2. Fran says:

    I would agree with Bookworn Chick, Hilary Mantel would be be a favourite. I’m sure Zadie Smith will be in the running somehow.

    1. Jackie says:

      Fran, Yes. I also think Zadie Smith will be a strong contender for the short list. I’ll be interested to see which books are picked.

  3. Judith says:

    I haven’t read Mantel but I think she’s got enough prizes noes, thanks very much.

    I read Kingsolver – great book, Homes – probably just as good, Erdrich – good but not quite so good. But the winner is…. Lichtarowicz. Her book is very special, I loved it. It deserves prizes (just a few, of course). Others? I’m always going on about The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell, which I believe was also published last year. Another great novel, up there with the best of them.

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, I love how we agree about everything! I also hope that Mantel doesn’t win another prize.

      You are also great about making me excited about reading O’Donnell and Lichtarowicz – both are at the very top of my TBR pile and I hope that I enjoy them as much as you did.

  4. Interesting list – I’ve read (4) of these, so I’ll be curious to follow to see what wins. Thanks for posting this. I do want to read more from this list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, Glad you found the list interesting :-)

  5. It’s a great selection. I’ve only read Mantel’s and have Y lined up to read next. Bring Up the Bodies is very good and brings an infamous period of history to life. I preferred Wolf Hall though as the plot was less familiar and it introduced us to Thomas Cromwell, and I’m looking forward to the 3rd instalment post-Anne Boleyn. I hope it is judged on its merits though and not on the fact that it has already won prizes. If the judges think it is the best book then it should win but I don’t think it will. Hoping O’Farrell’s on there, she seems to get better and better with every book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Liz, I agree that the best book should win, which is why I don’t want to see Mantel take the crown again. ;-) I would love to see someone like Ros Barber take the prize as her book really pushes the boundaries. Fingers crossed the right people make the cut.

  6. Sarah W says:

    It’s an interesting list that you have put together, I haven’t read as many of them as I would like, but quite a few are on my list to read. I’m halfway through Amity and Sorrow at the moment, and it is so vivid in my mind – I’d be thrilled if it made the list. I too have reservations about Bring Up the Bodies as a stand-alone novel. Wolf Hall was astonishing, one of my all-time favourite books, but I felt a little deflated reading Bodies.

    I think Calamity Leek is my next grown-up read, I’ve read such amazing reviews that I hope it lives up my expectations.

    Not on the Women’s Prize, for obvious reasons, but on your currently reading list is John Saturnall’s Feast – I absolutely adore that book so hope you’re enjoying it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sarah, It is great to hear that Amity and Sorrow is so vivid. I don’t like to read books before publication so it will be a few weeks before I get to that one, but I’m looking forward to it.

      I have heard so many amazing things about Calamity Leek and was very impressed by the section I read. I hope I love it as much as others have.

      I’m afraid I have bad news about John Saturnall’s Feast – I abandoned it a few days ago. :-( I can see why others love it and will explain why I didn’t sometime soon.

      I hope you enjoy reading many of the other books on my longlist prediction. :-)

      1. Kate Brown (@katefromberlin) says:

        Amity & Sorrow is wonderful. Most certainly vivid. I’d love to see it on the list.

  7. David says:

    Interesting selection, Jackie – I’ve read nine of the ones you’ve picked and agree with some of those but not all. “The Round House” was brilliant but I don’t think it’s eligible is it (not published here until May)?

    Hilary Mantel, Emily Perkins, Pat Barker, Zadie Smith, Barbara Kingsolver and Alix Ohlin would all make my personal longlist.

    I’m not so sure about ‘Y’ – I’m pleased to see it among the Amazon Canada First Novel Award finalists as I think it is a cracking debut, but I think it has many of the flaws of a debut too.

    And I just finished reading ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ (my first O’Farrell), and whilst I thought it was immensely readable and I was hooked from page one, I thought it lacked ambition and was nothing I haven’t read umpteen times before.

    Just looking through the eligible books I’ve read over the past year, I’d add Nell Leyshon’s “The Colour of Milk”, Tanis Rideout’s “Above All Things”, Kim Barnes’ “In the Kingdom of Men”, possibly Alison Moore’s “The Lighthouse”, and if the judges want something a bit lighter but still well-written, what about Maria Semples’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”?

    Two I really disliked and hope aren’t there (but suspect might be) would be Amy Sackville’s “Orkney” and Carrie Tiffany’s “Mateship With Birds”.

    And looking at the stuff I’ve not read yet, there’s Lauren Groff’s “Arcadia”, Emma Straub’s “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures” (mixed reviews but I read her collection of short stories last year and they were very good), Susie Boyt’s “The Small Hours”, Favel Parrett’s “Past the Shallows”, Tupelo Hassman’s “Girlchild”, Amanda Coplin’s “The Orcahrdist”… all possible contenders I’d think.

    By the way, the Calamity Leek book: is that good, then? I’d completely dismissed it based on the cover and the awful title!

    1. Jackie says:

      David
      The Round House” was brilliant but I don’t think it’s eligible is it (not published here until May)?

      I really struggled to decide if ‘The Round House’ was eligible, but there is a clause in the new rules that state it is if an ebook version is released within the time frame the it is allowed. Whilst a physical copy isn’t out until later in the year I think the e-version was published in January. I’m not sure whether the publishers will know about this new rule, or if it was even submitted, but if it was I think it would make the longlist.

      I think ‘The Colour of Milk’ deserves to be on the list, but I don’t think it is long enough to qualify? Do you think it is more than 30K words?

      Bernadette, The Lighthouse and Orkney were all on my long-long list but in the end I decided to go for the others. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them there.

      ‘Arcadia’? How could I forget Arcadia?! Yes, it was a fantastic book and it does deserve to make the longlist.

      It is interesting to read your reaction to ‘Heatwave’ That is how I’ve felt about all the O’Farrell’s I’ve read. I do think she’s a bit over hyped, but people love her books so much that I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the list. I’m not excited about her writing enough to rush out and read her new one, but I expect I’ll read it at some point (when it appears on this longlist!)

      Thanks for suggesting all the other books! I look forward to seeing what the judges select!

      1. David says:

        Ah, I’d not read the rules closely enough to see why Erdrich may be eligible and Leyshon not. In that case, Erdrich would definitely be on my longlist!

        I’d rather ignored O’Farrell until she won a Costa. I didn’t read that one but I thought I’d try “Heatwave”. I found it a quick, enjoyable read and it is well-written. But a dysfunctional family of recognisable ‘types’ brought together by an implausible crisis which is neatly resolved by the end? I’ve read dozens of those. It actually reminded me a little bit of Mark Haddon’s “The Red House” from last year, but Haddon actually took some risks with that and I don’t feel O’Farrell does.
        And given the title I was expecting her to make much more of the 1976 setting, either using it symbolically or to evoke the era, but other than it rather mechanically fitting some of the needs of her plot it could just as easily have been set in 2013 for much of the book.

        1. Jackie says:

          David, Your descriptions of the O’Farrell sound exactly how I imagined it to be. I hope it at least has some spark of interest for me.

  8. That would be a really strong longlist! There are so many wonderful eligible books this year, and I haven’t read enough of them. I said I wasn’t going to attempt the longlist this year, but after looking at your selections, I’m getting caught up in it again!

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, In previous years I have struggled to come up with 20 books that I think are strong enough, but this year I had more than 30 and had to whittle them down. I don’t know if that means it is a stronger year or if I’m just getting better at knowing what is out there. I hope you get caught up in the prize this year – it would be great to compare notes.

  9. Caroline says:

    Thanks for compiling this. It gives me some ideas on what to read next.
    I have no opinion on who will be on the list, I haven’t read it enough of the titles.
    I hope not Mantel again!

    1. Jackie says:

      Caroline, I hope you enjoy browsing this list and find some great reads as a result. Happy reading!

  10. stujallen says:

    nice list would like mantel not be on list she has won a lot recently ,not sure what be on list not really my field Jackie always like see what made list as usually a gudie to what is good in english female writing ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Yes. I look forward to seeing which books they pick next Thursday. Hopefully there will be some wonderful new-to-me female writing.

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