The 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist has been revealed, featuring Man Booker winner Anna Burns, Costa Novel Award winner Sally Rooney and seven debut novelists.
The Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world and this year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers including Rooney, Madeline Miller, a previous winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, Diana Evans, a winner of Orange Award for New Writers, as well as previously shortlisted author Burns.
Yvonne Battle-Felton, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Melissa Broder, Akwaeke Emezi, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Lillian Li and Sophie van Llewyn all feature on the longlist with their debut novels.
The longlist of 16 novels in full:
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (Hamish Hamilton)
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton (Dialogue Books)
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic)
The Pisces by Melissa Broder (Bloomsbury Circus)
Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber)
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)
Ordinary People by Diana Evans (Chatto & Windus)
Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott (Hutchinson)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Oneworld)
Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (One)
Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn (Fairlight Books)
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Fourth Estate)
Praise Songs for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden (Jacaranda Books)
Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury)
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (Granta)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber)
Chair of judges Professor Kate Williams said: “The discussion amongst the judges was passionate and there were some really tough choices to make. I am thrilled to share this longlist – sixteen incredible books by a diverse group of women, from the UK and countries across the world, all brilliant stories that sweep you into another world. Each of them have been a privilege to read, and they have taken us into places a million miles from each other, exploring the lives of women and men in so many different but utterly compelling ways.”
Journalist and critics Arifa Akbar, author and columnist Dolly Alderton, campaigner and psychotherapist Leyla Hussein and digital entrepreneur Sarah Wood join author and historian Williams on the judging panel.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction, sponsored by Bailers, Fremantle and Natwest, is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year, written by a woman and published in the UK between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.
Last month the Prize announced it had achieved charitable status as the Women’s Prize Trust. As part of the mission to provide a platform for women’s voices, the Trust will work to grow the educational, research and engagement initiatives on offer. Individual supporters will have the opportunity to contribute to the important work of ensuring as diverse a range of women’s voices as possible is heard, and celebrated by everyone, through the Patron and Prize Circle Patron schemes.
A special Patrons’ event will take place this evening (Monday 4th March) to celebrate the announcement of the 2019 longlist and the week of International Women’s Day, with speakers including Prize founder director Kate Mosse, Williams and author, television presenter and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Sandi Toksvig.
The 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist will be announced on 29th April and the winner will be awarded on 5th June at an awards ceremony in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.