The Shortlist: Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has announced its shortlist for 2017. The six titles include a past winner and a debut novel:

Stay with Me, Ayobami Adebayo (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio/BOT), the debut, publishes on August 22

The Power, Naomi Alderman (Hachette/Little, Brown) publishes on October 10

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant, who has won the prize before, is the only shortlist title without a US edition

The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan (Macmillan/FSG; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

First Love, Gwendoline Riley (PRH/Melville House; OverDrive Sample)

Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien (Norton; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

9781612196268_043ceJust released in the US, Riley’s First Love has gotten little attention here thus far. In the UK, critics were impressed.

The Spectator calls it “a hilarious send-up of chick lit … the meat of First Love is in its rich character depictions, from which Riley teases out a series of painful but exquisitely comedic episodes.”

The Guardian calls it “an exquisite and combative piece of news from nowhere – which is everywhere, too … Riley’s emphasis is on the quotidian experience of her characters – unbearable yet ordinary.”

The Evening Standard says it is “compelling from the beginning,” and The Scotsman says “This is, in a truly wonderful way, a perfectly horrible little novel. I read it in a kind of perpetual squirm, in a series of flinches and gasps. It is exact and exacting, and has the nasty pleasure of testing an unhealed abrasion.”

9780393609882_090a49780374281083_1d6c9The two novels that received the most attention in the states are Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) and C.E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings (Macmillan/FSG;Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Thien swept Canada’s literary awards, taking the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the highly prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. The NYT called her novel “a beautiful, sorrowful work.” While C.E. Morgan’s novel initially was not reviewed widely when first released, it went on to win the Kirkus Prize and was selected for the Carnegie Medal longlist for fiction.

The winner will be announced on June 7, 2017.

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