The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the most prestigious and successful literary awards in the world. The annual prize seeks out to find the very best in fiction written by women from around the world. This year the prize is celebrating its 20th year and the competition has been tough.
The longlist had a variation of previously short-listed authors, as well as several debut authors, the judging panel this year consists of Shami Chakrabarti, Cathy Newman, Grace Dent, Helen Dunmore and Laura Bates. These celebrated women in their own right, had the difficult task of narrowing the 20 books down to a shortlist of just 6. So who made the cut?
Outline by Rachel Cusk
The Bees by Laline Paull
A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
How to be Both by Ali Smith
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Sadly I haven’t had the pleasure of reading all the novels that made the shortlist but I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie. I have never read any of Shamsie’s previous work so I didn’t know what to expect but the blurb on the back piqued my intrigue enough. Within the first few chapters I already found myself falling in love. Kamila does an amazing job of writing in such a beautifully descriptive way that it makes the novel one of those perfect books where you fall into the surroundings and feel fully immersed. Viv Spencer isn’t like most women, she wears her hair short and has an interest in academia and archaeology. Just as a promising, and highly romantic relationship begins to flourish between Viv and family friend Tahsin Bey, war breaks out and she must return to England.
The novel follows Viv and Qayyum Gul, who meet on a train to Peshawar unaware that their lives and paths are going to cross in ways they never thought were imaginable. A page turner of a novel that slowly built all the perfect elements, to a truly gripping ending. A deserving short list nominee. Perfect for fans who like mystery and tension in their novels.
The winner of The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015 will be announced on 3rd June – to keep up to date with events building up to the announcement head on over to @BaileysPrize. Best of luck to all the novelists who have been shortlisted, and congratulations to Baileys Prize for helping celebrate the best in women’s fiction for 20 years.
For now though Belle About Town, in association with Baileys Prize, are giving the opportunity for 5 of our lucky readers to win a copy of Kamila Shamsie’s ‘A God in Every Stone’ to be in for a chance of winning all you have to do is Tweet us on @BelleAboutTown using the hashtag #BaileysPrize –we’ll pick 5 winners at random on Friday 29th May.