Women's Prize for Fiction's 2023 longlist has been announced
The Women's Prize for Fiction has released its 2023 longlist, made up of of 16 must-read books in contention of winning this year's award.
Chair of judges, broadcaster and writer, Louise Minchin said: "This year’s longlist is a glorious celebration of the boundless imagination and creative ambition of women writers over the past year. Every one of these 16 books is excellent and original in its own individual way; they all offer fresh perspectives on history and humanity, exploring hard truths with empathy, sensitivity, directness, and sometimes infectious humour. There is something here for all readers! It has truly been a life-enhancing experience to judge the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist this year, and we are looking forward to celebrating these voices that need to be heard."
The judging panel will now whittle these books down to a shortlist of six novels, announced in April. This year's winner will be announced on 14 June.
The longlist is as follows...
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Glory is the story of an uprising, told by a vivid chorus of animal voices that help us to see our human world more clearly.
Quote from 2023 judge Irenosen Okojie: "Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo is a hilarious,sharply observed political satire skewering Zimbabwean politics. It's a book set in an animal kingdom where a coup occurs, and we’re introduced to all sorts of unusual, bizarre characters."
Homesick by Jennifer Croft
Homesick is a novel about learning to love language in its many forms, healing through words and the promises and perils of empathy and sisterhood.
Quote from 2023 judge Irenosen Okojie: "Homesick by Jennifer Croft explores the complex relationships between two sisters, as well as coming to oneself as an artist. It traverses time but also looks at artistic sensibility and explores language in wondrous ways. It's a beautiful, immersive read."
Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
A debut about dub, reggae, love, loss and freedom, Fire Rush is a state-of-the-nation novel that paints an unforgettable portrait of Black womanhood.
Quote from 2023 judge Louise Minchin: "I love this story. It's a love story. It's about music. It's about passion. It's about your roots. It's told from the point of view of a young British black woman growing up in 1970s London. I could not put it down, and I can't wait for people to read it."
Children Of Paradise by Camilla Grudova
A surreal, discomforting debut novel that charts the fates of a ragtag group of cinema workers spat out by corporate takeover.
Quote from 2023 judge Irenosen Okojie: "Children of Paradise by Camilla Grudova is an immersive, hallucinatory read set in a crumbling old cinema where the real and the imagined collide in fantastical fashion."
Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
Stone Blind brings the infamous myth of Medusa to life in a powerful feminist retelling.
Quote from 2023 judge Bella Mackie: "Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes is a retelling of the story of Medusa, and it is very funny. It's very clever, and it breaks the fourth wall, which I loved."
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
Set during The Troubles, Trespasses is a novel about the lives of ordinary people, where the political invades the personal, and love is never far away from violence.
Quote from 2023 judge Rachel Joyce: "Trespasses by Louise Kennedy is set during The Troubles, and it's a doomed love story told with absolute truth, conviction and beauty."
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Reimagining Dickens’ David Copperfield for modern times, Demon Copperhead is an epic tale of love, loss and everything in between.
Quote from 2023 judge Rachel Joyce: "Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver is a retelling of David Copperfield but set in Virginia. It's a story about a young boy that nobody wants, and yet he has this indomitable spirit. He keeps coming up like a cork."
Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh
Cursed Bread is a tale of a town gripped by madness, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.
Quote from 2023 judge Rachel Joyce: "Cursed Bread is a novel about obsession. It's about the darkness, the things that we don't tell. Its prose is glittering, and it is completely unafraid."
The Dog Of The North by Elizabeth McKenzie,
This darkly comic novel is a story about a woman finding a way through the curveballs life has thrown at her and, in doing so, finding a way back to herself.
Quote from 2023 judge Bella Mackie: "The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie is a quirky story about a woman travelling around the country in a van. I found it incredibly funny and very moving."
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
Published to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo, Black Butterflies captures life inside this historic event.
Quote from 2023 judge Tulip Siddiq: "Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris is an amazing story of a woman – a wife, a mother and an artist – who is caught up in the war in Sarajevo. I couldn’t put it down."
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell,
A historical retelling of a young bride left out of the pages of history and the perils that met her in her short-lived marriage.
Quote from 2023 judge Tulip Siddiq: "The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell is a story of a strong female lead. It's beautifully written, it's intricate, and, ultimately, the ending is not what you expect."
I'm A Fan by Sheena Patel
An exhilarating take on obsession, race, gender and power dynamics through the lens of a corrosive relationship.
Quote from 2023 judge Louise Minchin: "I'm A Fan by Sheena Patel is an extraordinary, strange, dark tale. It's a love story told from only one perspective. It's about social media, obsession, and the strange places that can lead you, and it's totally immersive."
Pod by Laline Paull
Pod takes us into the ocean, and into the world of its fascinating inhabitants, through the eyes of the beautiful Ea, a Longi dolphin.
Quote from 2023 judge Irenosen Okojie: "Pod by Laline Paull is a wondrous exploration of a dolphin and her pod, navigating treacherous sea life. It deals with the separation between humans and animals, and it allows us to see that these creatures have a rich internal life. It's a beautiful read."
Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin
A heartbreaking debut novel about the bonds that connect people, even when separated by seas or death itself.
Quote from 2023 judge Tulip Siddiq: "Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin is a story of a woman who comes to this country from Vietnam and the dangerous boat journey she undertakes. It’s a moving story of immigration and how she eventually makes Britain her home. I just loved reading it."
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff
A dark comedy about an isolated woman falsely accused of killing her vanished husband, who becomes sought after to help other aspiring widows.
Quote from 2023 judge Louise Minchin: "The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff is an extraordinary caper of a novel. I’ve never met a character like Geeta. She inspires other women in her village in India to murder their husbands. It sounds dark – it is dark – but also it's utterly compelling and funny."
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
A celebration of three generations of Black women set against the evolving backdrop of southern America.
Quote from 2023 judge Bella Mackie: "Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow is the story of an African American family moving home to Memphis after a family split. It is powerful, beautifully written and incredibly moving."
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