women's prize for fiction

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 Longlist Reaction

Welcome to a niche post. 

I feel like a lot of people who follow this blog are mostly YA or Fantasy readers, but one of my 2020 reading goals was to read the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, so you’ll have to put up with that,  but I promise I’ll make it fun. I used to read way more literary fiction, and it is definitely a genre I love, so every year I follow both the Booker and the Women’s Prize, without actually reading the books. So this year, I decided that my passive participation is over, and I am gonna try and read (most of) the longlist. Shoutout to all the lovely people in the group chat – Rachel, HannahCallumNatyEmily, &  Sarah – who keep me excited about the prize and who kindly let me participate even though I am useless and uneducated.

Last night, the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced, and overall, I am really pleased with the list. I feel like it has a lot of surprises (based on the many prediction lists I read), and the more I read about the books, the more I am excited to pick them up. So here’s a breakdown of the list and my plans for what I am reading.

1. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Image result for djinn patrol on the purple line by deepa anappara

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Nope
Interest in reading: Medium
Do I plan to read it: Yes

This one definitely sounds intriguing – it’s about three friends that go looking for their missing classmates and it’s set in India. I think it has sort of mystery/thriller vibes, which usually isn’t my kind of thing, but I do find the synopsis interesting, and I am excited to see how I get on with it.

2. Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Image result for fleishman is in trouble

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Very Low
Do I plan to read it: Yes, but I won’t prioritize it

I absolutely hate the way this book sounds. I think it has all the potential for me to hate it. The focus on a recently divorced man sounds tedious to me, and like I’ve read it before and don’t want to do it again. Plus, some of the reviews I’ve read don’t really speak greatly of the book, even though some promises of subversion of gender roles exist. We’ll see, but this is not one I will prioritize in reading.

3. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Image result for queenie book

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Very High
Do I plan to read it: Yes, I am starting with this one!

This is one of the two books on the list that I actually own, so I am really excited to start with it. It sounds exactly like the book I would enjoy, and I have friends that loved it. Plus this has been on my radar for sooo long, so I am so glad it has been longlisted because I needed the push to finally read it.

4. Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Image result for dominicana angie

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Medium
Do I plan to read it: Yes

I have been eyeing Dominicana because it has received a fair amount of hype. I am interested in the synopsis and it has the potential to be something I end up liking, so I am really interested to see which one wins – my hate for historical fiction or the appeal of the synopsis in general.

5. Actress by Anne Enright

Image result for actress anne enright

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Nope
Interest in reading: Low
Do I plan to read it: Yes, but probably won’t prioritize it

This one is both historical and focuses on a celebrity, which I usually hate in books. It’s giving me sort of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo vibes, which I am interested in reading, but I keep putting off for some reason. We’ll see. This one also isn’t a priority but hopefully, I can get to them all despite priorities.

 6. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Image result for girl woman other

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Very High
Do I plan to read it: Yes

I am super excited about this one. It’s the other book I own and it sounds like the perfect pick for me – large cast of characters, focus on women’s lives, friendships, family, exploration of race in Britain – it checks a lot of boxes for me and I am so glad it got longlisted because I’ll finally stop putting it off. This is one I will also be picking up very soon.

7. Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Image result for nightingale point

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Nope
Interest in reading: High
Do I plan to read it: Yes

I think this is one of the few books on the list that I never even heard of before, but it sounds really amazing, and like something I would thoroughly enjoy. It’s set during the course of one day, which I always like, and again, a larger cast of characters, all dealing with their own stuff, but interconnected in multiple ways. Also one I will prioritize because it sounds like something I would enjoy.

8. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Image result for a thousand ships natalie haynes

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: High
Do I plan to read it: Yes

This one is in the vein of Circe or The Silence of the Girls – it’s an all-female retelling of the Trojan War. I am actually quite excited to read this one (I haven’t read the other two, maybe that’s why) so I hope to also pick it up soon.

 

Still with me? Thanks, we’re halfway through. 

9. How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

Image result for how we disappeared

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Low
Do I plan to read it: Yes, but won’t prioritize

Again, historical fiction is hard for me, especially when it’s during WWII. I just don’t get on with it. Although this is outside the usual WWII narrative, it still doesn’t sound like it would be for me exactly, but we’ll see, maybe I get on with it, since it does have two storylines, one of which is set in the 2000s I believe.

10. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Image result for the most fun we ever had

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: High
Do I plan to read it: Yes

This sounds like the perfect novel for me – it’s a multigenerational family story, focusing on four sisters and their lives, which is something I always love in books, so I am excited to read this one and will be prioritizing it.

11. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Image result for the mirror and the light

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Low
Do I plan to read it: Nope

This is the only one I know for sure I won’t read – it’s the third book in a historical fiction trilogy, so it’s one I probably won’t ever read. Just not for me. Plus reading the longlist will probably be impossible, let alone with another two big historical fiction novels on top of it.

12. Girl by Edna O’ Brien

Image result for girl edna o'brien

Goodreads
On my radar previously: No
Interest in reading: Medium
Do I plan to read it: Yes

This book is a portrayal of women abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and it has gotten really amazing reviews, and I do want to read it, but it does sound really harrowing, so I am not excited to add that stress to the already stressful (but fun!!) reading of the longlist. But we’ll see.

13. Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell

Image result for hamnet maggie o'farrell

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Medium
Do I plan to read it: Yes

I am intrigued by this one, because I do love Hamlet and I am interested to see how Shakespeare’s life story that shaped the play is explored in this novel. My only grievance is that this is historical, but I’ve really been looking forward to checking out O’Farell’s writing, so I hope it works for me.

14. Weather by Jenny Offill

Image result for weather jenny offill

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: High
Do I plan to read it: Yes

This is another one I am super excited to read. I really want to try Offill’s writing, plus I hope this book speaks to the anxious, dreading part of myself that is constantly worried about climate change. This one will be a priority since it’s one I was excited about anyways, and this gives it a nice, needed push.

15. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Image result for the dutch house by ann patchett

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: Medium to Low
Do I plan to read it: Yes, most likely won’t be a priority

I am really excited to finally read my first Patchett, but as I keep saying, historical fiction, especially in the WWII era is really not my thing. I do know of people who don’t read historical or even literary fiction who love this one, so fingers crossed it works for me as well.

16. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Image result for red at the bone

Goodreads
On my radar previously: Yes
Interest in reading: High
Do I plan to read it: Yes

This one definitely sounds like something I would enjoy – it’s a family story that unfurls backward in time, and it explores issues of class and gentrification, so I am really excited to check it out.  It’s one that I had been seeing everywhere at one point, I just never seemed to put it on my TBR. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to picking it up.

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And those are my reactions and reading plans for the Women’s Prize longlist? Do you follow the Women’s Prize? Thoughts on the longlist? Do you follow any other literary prizes? Tell me everything in the comments!

In the meantime, happy reading

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22 thoughts on “Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 Longlist Reaction

  1. Nice post!!! I’m terribly entertained by all the thoughts/reaction posts on the longlist. I am quite tired of the WWII books by now to be honest – even if they bring fresh stories, like the comfort women one. I guess it’s ok, but not very exciting. And quite a lot of hist fic. I am very much looking forward to Weather, too!! Ohh and I hope you love Girl, Woman, Other, I thought it was really good.

    Like

  2. I am so glad you joined us! (also, for me my Women’s Prize coverage is by far my most successful part of the year, viewer wise.)
    I super agree with you on struggling with historical fiction. It is usually a hard sell for me to begin with and then WWII makes it near impossible for me to get excited about a book. I’ll wait until one of the others has read the Lee before jumping in..
    I will also get to Queenie pretty soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! And Ugh I know, I am also gonna wait for somebody else to endorse it, because I am gonna need someone to convince me to read it. I think a lot of us will be reading Queenie soon, so that will be exciting to discuss!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel persuaded me to read Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo even though I was very dubious and I LOVED it. I suspect Actress will be very different, but liking Seven Husbands so much has definitely put me in the mood for some Old Hollywood glamour.
    The Dutch House doesn’t really read like historical fiction IMO, but on the downside, Djinn Patrol doesn’t really read like a thriller (blurb is misleading).
    Queenie and GWO are great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I don’t expect Actress to be all that similar to Seven Husbands, but then again, Seven Husbans sounds much more like something I would enjoy 🤷🏻‍♀️ Oh that’s fantastic to hear about The Dutch House! And I am not a big thriller person anyways, so that’s not an issue. I am super excited about both Queenie and GWO! Are you excited about reading any others from the list?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, looking forward to Hamnet and The Mirror and the Light which I was anticipating anyway! And I’m warming up to the idea of A Thousand Ships and How We Disappeared.

        Like

  4. I had so much fun reading this post! The only book in the longlist that I have read is Queenie, which I really enjoyed and I’m happy to see it included. From the other books, I want to read Djinn Patrol, The Most Fun We Ever Had and Girl, Woman, Other. I hope you enjoy reading all of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i am one of your ya reader followers, BUT this post was still fun for me to read! i mostly enjoyed how you seem to hate historical fiction as much as i do and let me say thank god i’m not alone in that opinion lmao. i hope you get around to all the books and enjoy them!! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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