The UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Names Six Authors

In News by Porter Anderson

In its new approach to a “family of sponsors”—allowing the prize program to use its own name—the Women’s Prize for Fiction names its 2018 shortlist, supported by sponsors Baileys, Deloitte, and NatWest.

From left, jurors for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction are Imogen Stubbs, Katy Brand, Catherine Mayer, Sarah Sands, and Anita Anand. Image: Women’s Prize for Fiction

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Winner To Be Named June 6

Two British authors, two American authors, one British-Pakistani author and one Indian author are shortlisted for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly known as the Orange and Baileys prize.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the prize this year begins operating under its own name, retaining Baileys as one of a trio of sponsors, and adding Deloitte and NatWest.

The winner receives an anonymously endowed cash award of £30,000 (US$41,881) and a limited edition bronze figurine known as a “Bessie,” created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

In a prepared statement, the chair of this year’s jurors, Sarah Sands, is quoted, saying, “The shortlist was chosen without fear or favor. We lost some big names, with regret, but narrowed down the list to the books which spoke most directly and truthfully to the judges.

“The themes of the shortlist have both contemporary and lasting resonance, encompassing the birth of the Internet, race, sexual violence, grief, oh and mermaids.

“Some of the authors are young, half [are] Brits, and all are blazingly good and brave writers.”

Kamila Shamsie may be the most familiar Women’s Prize nominee this year, having been shortlisted twice before, in 2015 and 2009.

The 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist

  • Elif Batuman, American, The Idiot, her first novel (Jonathan Cape)
  • Imogen Hermes Gowar, British, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, her first novel (Harvill Secker)
  • Jessie Greengrass, British, Sight, her first novel (John Murray)
  • Meena Kandasamy, Indian, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife, her second novel (Atlantic Books)
  • Kamila Shamsie, Pakistani/British, Home Fire, her seventh novel (Bloomsbury Circus)
  • Jesmyn WardAmerican Sing, Unburied, Sing, third novel, (Bloomsbury Circus)

Established in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded to a novel written by a woman. Any woman writing in English—whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter—is eligible.

The winner of this year’s competition is to be announced June 6.

The prize patrons comprise Dame Gillian Beer DBE, Rosie Boycott, Liz Calder, Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Helen Fraser CBE, Fi Glover, Daisy Goodwin, Muriel Gray, Bettany Hughes, Paula Kahn, Martha Kearney, Jude Kelly OBE, Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC FRSA, Kirsty Lang, Sue MacGregor CBE, Sheena McDonald, Dame Jenni Murray DBE, Penny Perrick, Dame Gail Rebuck DBE, Miranda Richardson, Tessa Ross CBE, Gillian Shephard, Baroness Shephard of Northwold, Ahdaf Soueif, Sandi Toksvig, Polly Toynbee, Joanna Trollope OBE and Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE.

And its founding patrons are Kate Mosse OBE, Clare Alexander, Jane Gregory, Susan Sandon and Carole Welch.

The program’s board includes Joanna Prior (chair), Alison Barrow, Felicity Blunt (company secretary), Annie Coleman, Harriet Hastings (managing director), Karen Jones CBE, Louise Jury, Sandeep Mahal, Kate Mosse OBE, Anna Rafferty and Syl Saller.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Women’s Prize for Fiction is here. And more on book awards is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.