Announced yesterday (or earlier this morning my time) were the six nominees for the Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction. You can check out the very schmick website here or, you know, lower your eyes and check out my faithful and mostly accurate reproduction of the list:
- Rachel Cusk – Outline
- Laline Paull – The Bees
- Kamila Shamsie – A God in Every Stone
- Ali Smith – How To Be Both
- Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread
- Sarah Waters – The Paying Guests
Ali Smith’s How To Be Both has to be the most nominated novel of the past twelve months. According to Goodreads, it has appeared on 7 shortlists since the Man Booker Prize in September last year. You all know how much I love this book, or at least you should if you read this blog and listen to the Writer and The Critic podcast, so to say anymore would be just mindless repetition. Still, why haven’t more of you read this book! WHY?!
And then there’s Outline by Rachel Cusk. It’s a book I liked, but it’s aloof narrator (a version of Rachel Cusk) and the fact that the novel essentially has no plot but is a series of conversations and anecdotes, makes its repeated appearance in shortlists a little surprising. It’s obviously a book that has resonated with people, which is makes me very happy.
I remember reading Anne Tyler at school (it was Dinner at The Homesick Restaurant) and vaguely remember the family drama and dry sense of humour. Reading her new novel is likely to be a nostalgic experience. I’ve heard good things about the Waters and Paull and know nothing at all about the Shamsie. So all in all this appears to be an exciting shortlist.