With this being 2016 it would be nice to think that women are viewed and respected as equals to men. That we have the same rights and opportunities and don’t get penalised because we have ovaries. Unfortunately if you’ve looked at the press in the past few months or weeks you will find that women are still fighting for equality. For example there’s the argument of wage equality in the creative industries for women or recent debacle of the tampon tax. We even had to argue why it’s important to have an International Women’s Day as men started complaining that they don’t have one (which they actually do!).
So it’s really refreshing when something comes along that’s all about embracing the greatness of women, especially in the creative industry. And nothing celebrates this like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. A prize that was borne out of the exclusion of female authors from the 1991 Booker Prize shortlist, despite the fact that 60% of the books published that year were by women. Now in its 20th year the prize embodies the creativeness, diversity and originality of female authors. Past judges have included the likes of Joanna Trollope, Philip Gregory and Sandi Toksvig and this year the line-up is even more impressive with Margaret Mountford as the Chair, journalist Laurie Penny, presenter Naga Munchetty, singer Tracey Horn and award winning author Elif Shafak all delving into the pages of the twenty books that have been longlisted for the prize.
An interesting thing about this year’s list is that over half of the books are debuts, while there are four previously shortlisted authors on there too. There’s now the mammoth task to whittle down the twenty books to just six by April 11th before the winner is announced on Wednesday 8th June. For me one of the great things is the diverse range of genres each year, I’ll be reviewing the books over the coming weeks and months in my Literary Lane features.
For more information about the Bailey’s Prize head on over to the website or for those more addicted to social media, you can follow the journey over on Twitter. Either way, I’ll be keeping you posted on all the developments, but why not support your fellow sisters and check out one of the great titles nominated yourself?
We’re always keen to hear what our readers think too, so if you agree with my reviews, or have alternative opinions on the books we feature, we’d love to hear from you!