women's prize for fiction

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: A Brief Shortlist Reaction

No one is surprised.

I know, I know, it’s another Women’s Prize post and you all are bored, but I like doing these, PLUS I try to be funny at all times (and fail almost always), so hopefully, everyone gets something out of it. As I mentioned in my previous post where I talked about my shortlist predictions and longlist reactions (find it HERE), the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced yesterday, so I thought I’d pop in for a quick reaction post!

Here’s my reaction:


dividerOkay, fine, I am kidding, but I do think that this year’s longlist is sort of uninspired, so it can only produce an uninspired shortlist. Here’s what the shortlist looks like:


As you can see by my very useless stars, I got three of the shortlist books right in my predictions – Girl, Woman, Other, The Mirror and the Light and Hamnet. I haven’t read either of those, but they seemed like obvious, big-name picks, and apparently, the judges thought so too. I am also pretty sure that those three books are good and deserving to be on the shortlist. But I also gave myself two small stars because I predicted that both A Thousand Ships and Weather have a fair chance to make it. I did not personally enjoy Weather (review HERE) but I do think that it’s very topical and experimental in writing style (compared to the rest of the longlist), so I think its inclusion makes sense. On the other hand, I personally really enjoyed A Thousand Ships (it’s my favorite read of the longlist so far, review HERE), but I thought it won’t be longlisted because it’s a Greek retelling, and it doesn’t stray too much from the charted territory. Additionally, we got two of those retellings on last year’s shortlist, so I thought the judges might not go down that route.

I am really sad about How We Disappeared not making this list – I am not a historical fiction reader at all, but I really liked it, and I think it would have been great to see a book that explores a different WWII narrative and shines a light on a different experience than we usually see in WWII books. Sigh.

So technically, I got 3 out of 6 right, but basically, I got 5 out of 6 right, so I win.

As for my progress, I read only two of the shortlisted books – A Thousand Ships (4 stars) and Weather (2 stars), so I still have 4 to read, but since I won’t be reading the Mantel, I have only three. The completionist in me is sad about the Mantel, but she had a chat with the rationalist in me and the rationalist said bitch, you are never reading a 3000-page historical fiction series and SHE IS RIGHT.

Out of the remaining reads, I am most excited about Girl, Woman, Other, and I think it will be my favorite and also probably win the whole thing. I will finish the whole longlist – I was losing steam for a bit, but the shortlist announcement was a good push for me to get excited again.


Those are my reactions to the shortlist this year! What are your thoughts on it? Any you really wished were on there but did not make it? Let me know!

In the meantime, happy reading





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12 thoughts on “Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: A Brief Shortlist Reaction

  1. I’m very disappointed but not surprised, though I’m especially upset to see Dominicana. As Emily said in her post, it could have been worse… At least you still have GWO to look forward to! It’s perfection and I don’t think the rest of the books on the shortlist hold a candle to it.


  2. Girl Woman Other is really excellent and I hope you’ll like it and I hope it’ll win. (Also, hard same on the Mantel. There is just NO way I am reading three endlessly long historical fiction novels about Cromwell of all people. Even if they are really well done)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My money’s on Girl, Woman, Other now as well 👀 It’s almost certainly between Evaristo and Mantel, but I think Girl, Woman, Other’s themes and vibe are way more in line with the kind of thing the Women’s Prize (theoretically) sets out to champion. Plus Mantel will almost certainly win the Booker next year, and they might want to do a double up yours to them in light of this year’s Booker debacle concerning Evaristo’s shared win.


  4. I completely agree with your thoughts! But I really do hope you’ll end up enjoying Girl Woman Other, and Hamnet, which were my top two longlist reads! Even though they were obvious choices for the shortlist they are at least good books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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