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6 Sensational novels shortlisted for the Baileys Prize

BY Farhana Gani

1st Jan 2015 Book Reviews

6 Sensational novels shortlisted for the Baileys Prize

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction—the UK’s only annual book award exclusively for fiction written by a woman—has announced its shortlist of six writers. Read on for your chance to win the shortlist. 

What is special about the Baileys Prize?

Bailey's prize and judges
The panel of judges: Margaret Mountford (Chair), Naga Munchetty, Laurie Penny, Elif Shafak and Tracey Thorn

Set up in 1996, the Baileys Prize for Fiction (previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction between 1996 and 2012) is awarded to the best novel each year written by a woman. The purpose of the prize is to celebrate these storytellers and share the pleasure of their writing with ever-widening audiences across the globe.

Any woman writing in English—whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter—is eligible. The shortlist this year features three debut novels, and one author who is no stranger to the shortlist, Irish writer Anne Enright.

“After a long and often passionate debate we are proud to present our 2016 shortlist,” said Margaret Mountford, Chair of judges. “Our choices reflect a really diverse mix of brilliant writing from new and established authors around the world and we hope that everyone will find much to enjoy in them."

The winner of the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction will be announced on London 8th June, 2016, at an event to be held at the Royal Festival Hall.



Meet the shortlist:



a debut novel by Cynthia Bond


Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East-Texas town. For Ruby Bell, Liberty was a place of devastating violence from which she fled to seedy, glamorous 1950s New York.

Years later, pulled back home, 30-year-old Ruby is faced with the seething hatred of a town desperate to destroy her. Witnessing her struggle, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.



The Green Road

by Anne Enright

The Green Road

The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave behind the west of Ireland for new lives they could never have imagined, in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns.

In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she’s decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.



The Glorious Heresies

a debut novel by Lisa McInerney

glorious hereises

One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society.

Ryan is a 15-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with this unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family.

Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city.

In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight…



The Portable Veblen

by Elizabeth McKenzie

portable veblen

Meet Veblen: a passionate defender of the anti-consumerist views of her namesake, the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen.

She’s an experienced cheerer-upper (mainly of her narcissistic, hypochondriac, controlling mother), an amateur translator of Norwegian, and a firm believer in the distinct possibility that the plucky grey squirrel following her around can understand more than it lets on.

Meet her fiancé, Paul: the son of good hippies who were bad parents, a no-nonsense, high-flying neuroscientist with no time for squirrels. His recent work on a device to minimize battlefield trauma has led him dangerously close to the seductive Cloris Hutmacher, heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire, who is promising him fame and fortune through a shady-sounding deal with the Department of Defence.

What could possibly go wrong?



The Improbability of Love

a debut novel by Hannah Rothschild 

The Improbability of Love

When lovelorn Annie McDee stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man, she has no idea what she has discovered.

Soon she finds herself drawn unwillingly into the tumultuous London art world, populated by exiled Russian oligarchs, avaricious Sheikhs, desperate auctioneers and unscrupulous dealers, all scheming to get their hands on her painting—a lost eighteenth-century masterpiece called ‘The Improbability of Love’.

Delving into the painting’s past, Annie will uncover not just an illustrious list of former owners, but some of the darkest secrets of European history, and in doing so she might just learn to open up to the possibility of falling in love again.



A Little Life

by Hanya Yanigahara 

A Little Life

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel painter pursuing fame in the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself.

By midlife he has become a terrifyingly talented lawyer yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by a degree of trauma that he fears he will not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.