Sunday, March 26, 2017

The 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist: A U.S. Reader's Guide

I've been slowly working on this post for two weeks, but it's finally here: my 7th annual Women's Prize for Fiction U.S. Reader's Guide! 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 and years to come. I didn't make predictions this year, partially because the prize announced it was trimming the longlist from its traditional length of twenty titles to only twelve. (The judges ended up with sixteen titles on the longlist.) For the seventh 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 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.

The Ones Available in the U.S. Now


Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood
Little Deaths by Emma Flint
The Mare by Mary Gaitskill
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
First Love by Gwendoline Riley (out Tuesday)
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

The Ones Coming to the U.S. Later This Year



Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (August 22, 2017)
The Power by Naomi Alderman (October 10, 2017) (no U.S. cover yet)
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (June 6, 2017)

The Ones We Hope Make Their Way to the U.S.



The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

My Thoughts
If I think about my excitement for the titles included here (Linda Grant!) instead of all the wonderful books that didn't (Ann Patchett), I'm really excited for this list. Many of these books have been on my TBR for far too long (ahem, The Mare), and I'm thankful for this push to read them. Some are not yet out but have been on my radar already. Others are new to me with this list (The Power, a premise that delights me.) And a few intrigue me but are terrifyingly long (for me), but I hope to find the time to dig in to Barkskins and The Sport of Kings.  I'm slowly making my way through the longlist, and I'll be posting my thoughts on these sixteen books as I take the time to read them.

Now tell me: what title are you most excited to see on this year's longlist?

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