By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Evaristo: ‘Gloriously Varied’As publishing and book awards continue on their springtime collision course of announcements, the newest is from England, where the Women’s Prize for Fiction this evening (April 28) has announced its 2021 shortlist.
Publishing Perspectives readers will remember that the program’s longlist of 16 titles was named last month. The winner is expected to be named this year on July 7.
The purse for that winner will be worth £30,000 (US$41,926) and is endowed by an anonymous donor. The winner also traditionally receives the limited edition “Bessie” figurine made and donated by artist Grizel Niven.
The shortlist features two British authors, one from Barbados, two Americans, and one Ghanian-American writer. Two of the six books on the shortlist are debut publications–No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood and How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones.
Three novels are by authors who have previously published only one other work of fiction: Brit Bennett, Susanna Clarke, and Yaa Gyasi.
In a prepared comment, this year’s jury chair Bernardine Evaristo is quoted, saying, “Coming up with a longlist of 16 books for this prize was relatively easy compared to whittling the selection down to six novels, which by necessity demands more consensus. Sadly, we had to lose so many exceptional books that we loved.
“However, with this shortlist, we’re excited to present a gloriously varied and thematically rich exploration of women’s fiction at its finest.
“These novels will take the reader from a rural Britain left behind to the underbelly of a community in Barbados; from inside the hectic performance of social media to inside a family beset by addiction and oppression; from a tale of racial hierarchy in America to a mind-expanding tale of altered perceptions.
“Fiction by women defies easy categorization or stereotyping, and all these novels grapple with society’s big issues expressed through thrilling storytelling. We feel passionate about them, and we hope readers do too.”
Evaristo is joined on the judging panel by podcaster, author, and journalist Elizabeth Day; television and radio presenter, journalist and writer, Vick Hope; print columnist and writer Nesrine Malik; and news presenter and broadcaster, Sarah-Jane Mee.
Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 Shortlist
|Brit Bennett||The Vanishing Half||Hachette / Dialogue Books||American|
|Claire Fuller||Unsettled Ground||Penguin Random House / Fig Tree||British|
|Yaa Gyasi||Transcendent Kingdom||Penguin Random House / Viking||Ghanaian-American|
|Cherie Jones||How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House||Hachette / Tinder Press||Barbadian|
|Patricia Lockwood||No One Is Talking About This||Bloomsbury Circus||American|
Events on the crowded UK market awards calendar include:
- A digital ‘Shortlist Festival’: June 14-16
- A shortlist readings event: July 6 in London
- The winner’s announcement and ceremony: July 7 in London
The Women’s Prize—formerly known by its sponsors, Orange (1996 to 2012) and then Baileys (2013 to 2017)—is in its 26th year and, as Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the program named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie its “winner of winners” in a 25th-anniversary readers’ vote last year. Baileys and National West remain sponsors of the program.
More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.