Predictions: Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018

With just over a week to go until the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist is announced (8thMarch), I thought I’d put together a post on my predictions.

The literary prize, exclusively for women, was set up in 1992 and previously known as The Orange Prize for Fiction and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. It’s a prize that celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Last year The Power by Naomi Alderman won the prize.

This year, the longlist will consist of up to 20 titles – so I think I’ll wait until the shortlist is announced before I start doing my own armchair judging. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible. Novels must be published in the United Kingdom between 1 April in the year the Prize calls for entries, and 31 March the following year, when the Prize is announced.

So, which novels do I think deserve a place on this year’s longlist? (n.b. I haven’t read all of these, but have heard exceptional reviews for all of them/ they’re high-up on my TBR pile!)

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This year, the judges will be: Katy Brand, Catherine Mayer, Imogen Stubbs, Anita Anand and Sarah Sands. The longlist will be announced on March 8th –  are there any books that you think I’ve missed here? Any that you’d love to see on the list?

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Femmeuary

The wonderful Lauren, over from the Booktube channel Lauren and The Books, is hosting Femmeuary. In short, Lauren has coined February ‘Femmeuary’ to celebrate women – during the month she’s encouraging us to read, watch and consume any content that makes us proud, empowered and delighted to be a woman. If you’re still a little confused, you can see her announcement video here (she does a much better job of explaining the concept than I have…).

So, it goes without saying that during Femmeuary I’ll be reading books by, and about, strong, independent women (throw your hands up at me!). Just a few on my TBR are:

How to be Human: The Manual by Ruby Wax

rubywaxA three-way encounter between a Monk, a neuroscientist and Ruby Wax sounds like the set up for a joke. Instead it’s produced one of the most fascinating, intriguing and informative books about minds and bodies and brains and mindfulness I’ve ever encountered. A triangulation on what it means to be human. 

Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand

sophia

In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. Sophia transcended her heritage to devote herself to battling injustice and inequality, a far cry from the life to which she was born.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Grey

unexpected

Ever sworn off alcohol for a month and found yourself drinking by the 7th? Think there’s ‘no point’ in just one drink? Welcome! There are millions of us. 64% of Brits want to drink less. Catherine Gray was stuck in a hellish whirligig of Drink, Make horrible decisions, Hangover, Repeat. She had her fair share of ‘drunk tank’ jail cells and topless-in-a-hot-tub misadventures. But this book goes beyond the binges and blackouts to deep-dive into uncharted territory: What happens after you quit drinking? This gripping, heart-breaking and witty book takes us down the rabbit-hole of an alternative reality. A life with zero hangovers, through sober weddings, sex, Christmases and breakups.

Will you be taking part in Femmeuary? If so, I’d love to hear what you’ll be reading.

January Reads: Overcoming my reading slump

At the start of the year I vowed to get over my reading slump and back into my books. I know I’ve said it a lot, but the last part of the year felt really lacklustre with my reading – there was lots I wanted to read, but nothing that I could really muster the attention span for. BUT, I’m pleased to report that I AM BACK ON IT.

Before the new year rung in, I organised my books (helped of course by a new bookshelf…) and dug out a few new releases I wanted to read during January.

The Child Finder by Rene Denfield (W&N) – 3/5

childfinder

This was an easy, and enjoyable, crime read – it follows Naomi Cottle who finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. A little predictable in places, but it was a nice, easy book to start the year on.

The Confession by Jo Spain (Quercus) – 4/5

Confession

This is an explosive psychological thriller; a real cat and mouse read that leaves you flitting between perspectives, characters and storylines. I was addicted from the first page – my full review, for the blog tour, can be read here.

Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit (Orion) – 3/5

Fear

The premise of this book is better than the actual storyline – how far would you go for your family, to ensure their safety? It is definitely more of a slow-burning literary thriller, than a fast-paced fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thriller. It left me wanting more and in truth, just a little disappointed.

After You by JoJo Moyes (Penguin) – 3/5

afteryou.

I took this on holiday with me as I wanted a light-hearted, easy read. Having read Me Before You in one sitting about five years ago, I thought it was about time I got round to reading After You. This was a great holiday read, and I enjoyed it, but it definitely didn’t pack as much of a punch as the first in the series.

The Coroner’s Daughter by Andrew Hughes (Black Swan) – 3/5

coroner

It took me a little while to get into this historical novel, but nonetheless it was a quirky, enjoyable read with a pithy, curious woman at its heart. This is a dark, gory tale about The Coroner of Dublin’s daughter and her inquisitive mind. It had a good amount of twists and turns to keep me interested, but it lacked a bit of oomph – I didn’t feel particularly invested in the characters.