The final shortlist of the Women’s Prize for Fiction has been unveiled, following the announcement of the 16-book longlist in March.
It features two reworkings of Greek myths with “The Silence of the Girls” by British Booker Prize winner Pat Barker, which tells the story of the captured Greek queen Briseis, as well as “Circe” from previous Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Madeline Miller, a new take on the witch who seduces Homer’s Odysseus.
Anna Burns’ award-winning “Milkman” was also shortlisted. This tale of family secrets set during the Irish Troubles won last year’s Man Booker Prize as well as the National Book Critics Circle.
Other novels that made it to the list include Diana Evans’ “Ordinary People”, Tayari Jones’ “An American Marriage” and Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut “My Sister, the Serial Killer”.
Among the longlisted novels that didn’t make the final cut are Sally Rooney’s “Normal People” and Akwaeke Emezi’s “Freshwater”, which was the first book by a non-binary transgender author to be nominated for the prize.
Chair of the judges Kate Williams praised “a fantastic shortlist,” which is “exciting, vibrant, adventurous.”
“We fell totally in love with these books and the amazing worlds they created. These books are fiction at its best — brilliant, courageous and utterly captivating”, she added in an official statement.
This year’s judging panel also includes journalist and critic Arifa Akbar, author and columnist Dolly Alderton, campaigner and psychotherapist Leyla Hussein and digital entrepreneur Sarah Wood.
The winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced in London on June 5. The £30,000 literary prize (over P2 million) celebrates “excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.”
Previously awarded authors include A.M. Homes, Lisa McInerney, Naomi Alderman and Kamila Shamsie. JB