Monday, March 9, 2015

The 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist: A U.S. Reader's Guide

The 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist is finally here! Longtime readers knows this prize, known for most of its history as the Orange Prize, is my favorite literary prize. The longlist announcement is always one of my favorite moments of the year, and it shapes my reading for the months to come. Last week I predicted the twenty titles I thought would make the longlist. I correctly guessed only five of the titles. For the fifth year in a row, I'm offering my thoughts on the longlist along with information on when U.S. readers can access these titles (see my U.S. Reader's Guide for the longlists in 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.

The Ones I've Already Read

The Ones Available in the U.S. Now


  • Outline by Rachel Cusk
  • I Am China by Xiaolu Guo
  • Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
  • Aren't We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson (available for Kindle)



  • The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
  • The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill
  • The Bees by Laline Paull
  • The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert



  • A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (available for Kindle)
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  • The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
  • After Before by Jemma Wayne
The Ones Coming Soon to the U.S.


  • Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (July 28, 2015)
  • Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey (April 7, 2015)--was published in October 2014 by Atavist, who has since gone out of business; being republished by Ecco
  • The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips (August 4, 2015)
  • The Shore by Sara Taylor (May 26, 2015)
  • The Life of a Banana by PP Wong (May 1, 2015)
The Ones We Hope Make Their Way to the U.S. Soon


  • The Offering by Grace McCleen

My thoughts
There are no former winners on the longlist, but eight have been shortlisted before (Rachel Cusk, Xiaolu Guo, Samantha Harvey, Heather O'Neill, Kamila Shamsie, Ali Smith--twice, Anne Tyler--twice, Sarah Waters--twice). Three other authors have been longlisted before (Lissa Evans, Patricia Ferguson, Rachel Seiffert--twice.) Ali Smith, Anne Tyler and Sarah Waters have all been shortlisted twice and longlisted once before--could it be the year for one of them? Over all, I think it's a very intriguing mix, and I'm eager to dig into the eighteen titles I haven't read yet. First up? Probably Outline by Rachel Cusk, which was already on my nightstand.

Now tell me: which title are you rooting for? Right now, I'm rooting for Ali Smith, as How to Be Both is exceptionally good, and it was one of my favorite reads of 2014.


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13 comments:

  1. I've read The Paying Guests, Station Eleven (which I liked more than you) and The Table of Less Value Knights. US - Canada publishing is so crazy. This was released in Canada last summer. It's a cute, easy read, that I enjoyed, but I surprised to see it on the Prize list.

    There's a few I can get at the library, but most have big wait lists. I'm not sure about The Bees - might be a little out there for me.

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    1. The Bees is the last one I took off my prediction list to make it 20! I'm intrigued by it, but I'm curious. I opted for it on audio, as I love the narrator. I'll start it next.

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  2. The Orange/ Baileys has always been my favorite literary prize. Personally, i liked the list you predicted a little better, but the real one isn't bad. Now time to get reading!

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    1. I'm always tempted to like my lists better, as I favor the books I most want to read and have enjoyed. There are always several surprises and books I may never have discovered, and that is why I so love the longlist!

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  3. I want to read ELIZABETH IS MISSING. And soon-ish. LOL

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    1. Kay--me too! I keep debating print or audio, but I think I'm going to read it in print.

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  4. Is this a record year for the most number available to the US? I haven't read any that I especially love yet, but there are a lot that are new to me so I'm looking forward to trying them. I hope you enjoy your Baileys reading this year!

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    1. Jackie--I think so, although many aren't yet published, which makes it look more like a Booker list! I'm eager to get reading too. It will be tough to fit them all in quickly, but I'm going to try!

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  5. I'm pretty excited about this list. I'm positively surprised by how many of the books are already available in the US, or will be soon-ish. So far, I've only read Elizabeth Is Missing so far; my next read will probably be The Bees, which I am really looking forward to.

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    1. I just picked up The Bees from Audible, as its narrator is one of my favorites. I'm reading Outline now, but I think Elizabeth is Missing will be next. So many I want to dive into quickly!

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  6. I'm shocked but happy to see The Bees on the list. I can't wait to see what you thought of it. I really enjoyed it when I read it last year.

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    1. Vasilly, I am quite curious about it too! It will be my next audiobook.

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  7. I can't believe I haven't read a single book on this list! I have much to make up for in the next few weeks.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!