The 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist has been announced, which is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by women.
Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world. Making the 2017 shortlist is the provocative sci-fi thriller The Power, Man Booker Prize shortlistee Madeleine Thien, debut novelist Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀ from Nigeria, previous Baileys Prize winner Linda Grant, Kirkus Prize winner C.E. Morgan, and British novelist Gwendoline Riley.
Tessa Ros, 2017 Chair of Judges said: “It has been a great privilege to Chair the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in a year which has proved exceptional for writing of both quality and originality… It was therefore quite a challenge to whittle this fantastic longlist of 16 books down to only six… These were the six novels that stayed with all of us well beyond the final page.”
The winner of the £30,000 (A$49,270) prize will be announced on 7 June.
2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist
The Sport of Kings
by C.E. Morgan
Hellsmouth, a wilful thoroughbred filly, has the legacy of a family riding on her. The Forges: one of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky; descended from the first settlers to brave the Wilderness Road; as mythic as the history of the South itself – and now, first-time horse breeders. Through an act of naked ambition, Henry Forge is attempting to blaze this new path on the family’s crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavour but has desires of her own.
When Allmon Shaughnessy, an African American man fresh from prison, comes to work in the stables, the ugliness of the farm’s history rears its head. Together through sheer will, the three stubbornly try to create a new future – one that isn’t determined by Kentucky’s bloody past – while they mould Hellsmouth into a champion… Learn more.
by Naomi Alderman
In The Power the world is a recognizable place – there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge, with devastating effects. Now, with the flick of a switch, teenage girls can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.
This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of Young British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if physical power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world... Learn more.
The Dark Circle
by Linda Grant
The Second World War is over, a new decade is beginning but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kent to learn the way of the patient, they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman.
They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched… Learn more.
About the Contributor
Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.