Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

Two nights ago my friend had a baby boy. She named him Jarvis. When I reported this to my husband he said “Oh, like Jarvis Cocker!” “Who’s Jarvis Cocker?” I replied.

*insert much carry-on and eye-rolling from husband*

Anyway, he told me to file Jarvis Cocker alongside Lil’ Wayne and stick to listening to Air Supply (very long, funny story that I’ll share if we ever find ourselves chatting over a beer) and I went back to catching up on Twitter. So are you wondering what Jarvis Cocker has to do with the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction?

As I’m scrolling through Twitter (with a sneaky look at Google to find out what I could about Jarvis Cocker), I can’t help but share out loud my thoughts on the longlist for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction, which was due to be announced the following day. My Twitter feed was full of speculation from the various book bloggers and publishers that I follow. After a handful of idle remarks (along the lines of “It would be ace if Carrie (Tiffany) got listed….”, “I’ll seriously put pins in my eyes if Hilary bloody Mantel wins again…”, “Hope they don’t forget about Emily Perkins….”) my husband turned to me and said “What are you talking about?” “The Women’s Prize for Fiction. The longlist is announced tomorrow,” I said.

*insert blank looks from husband*

“It used to be called the Orange Prize….” I said.

*insert continued blank looks from husband*

“Do you know who Hilary Mantel is?” I asked

*more blank looks*

“Man Booker winner. First woman to win twice. Said some crap about Kate Middleton that was taken out of context but everyone got upset about…”

*even more blank looks*

And then I said all the stuff he had said to me, minutes before, during our Jarvis Cocker discussion.

That was a very long way of introducing the fact that I’M INTERESTED and EXCITED about this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, even if those close to me don’t share my interest or enthusiasm!

So, to the longlist. Some I’ve read, some I have in my TBR stack* and others I’ll be hunting down, trying to get them read before the winner is announced in June.

Kitty Aldridge – A Trick I Learned From Dead Men
Kate Atkinson – Life After Life
Ros Barber – The Marlowe Papers
Shani Boianjiu – The People of Forever are Not Afraid
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl*
Sheila Heti – How Should A Person Be?
AM Homes – May We Be Forgiven*
Barbara Kingsolver – Flight Behaviour
Deborah Copaken Kogan – The Red Book*
Hilary Mantel – Bring Up the Bodies
Bonnie Nadzam – Lamb
Emily Perkins – The Forrests
Michèle Roberts – Ignorance
Francesca Segal – The Innocents
Maria Semple – Where’d You Go, Bernadette*
Elif Shafak – Honour
Zadie Smith – NW
ML Stedman – The Light Between Oceans*
Carrie Tiffany – Mateship with Birds
G Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen

I’ll be cheering hard for Mateship with Birds and hoping that The Forrests comes in close behind.

8 responses

  1. I am one of the people that share the sentiment ‘not Hilary Mantel again’. What did she say about Kate Middleton? I could google, but I’m being lazy. I hated The Innocents and NW. I found The Light Between Oceans to be fine, as well as Gone Girl which I found to be predictable (maybe I’m just a twisted person inside?).

    I don’t know who I’m rooting for…

    • I don’t want to sound snarky about Mantel but… I didn’t actually finish Wolf Hall. Couldn’t stand it. My book group loved it though. Here is link to her Middleton remarks – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n04/hilary-mantel/royal-bodies If people had taken time to read the whole (very interesting) article they would see that she wasn’t picking on Kate but of course few people took the time before the whole thing blew up. It got lots of press here (but maybe not in the US??)

      I’m looking forward to Light Between the Oceans – I’ve heard good things. And it qualifies for my Australian Women Writers reading challenge. I am of course the only person in the world who hasn’t read Gone Girl – I’ll decide on your ‘twisted inside’ comment after I’ve read it 😉

      • They don’t get a lot of coverage here unless they do something here (i.e. Prince Harry in Vegas). I thought Wolf Hall was thorough, but I’ve not been interested in Bringing Up the Bodies and I was disappointed when she won. I had been rooting for The Teleportation Accident (didn’t even make the short list).

  2. I’m usually pretty slow getting around to reading books on prize shortlists and longlists but this year’s longlist for the Women’s Prize is interesting! There’s a couple of titles on it that I’ve been eyeing for a while; I hope to get around to some of them before the winner is announced xD (a long shot but worth a try ;))

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