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Margaret Atwood tops first list of contenders for Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction

Margaret Atwood tops first list of contenders for Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction

Margaret Atwood and Rose Tremain are among the authors in the running for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction, it has been announced.

They were on the first longlist of 16 writers released on Wednesday, coinciding with International Women’s Day.

Margaret’s 16th novel Hag-Seed and Rose’s 14th book The Gustav Sonata made the list alongside debut works by authors Ayobami Adebayo, Emma Flint and Fiona Melrose.

Rose with her Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2008.
Rose with her Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2008 (Carl Court /PA)

 

Chairwoman of the award’s judging panel and chief executive of House Productions, Tessa Ross, said the 187 entries from around the world marked a crucial time for women’s writing.

“What’s happening in the world is making us even more aware of how important it is that women’s voices are heard and that we talk about the rights of women and we support each other,” she said.

“The world is a scarier place and we need to be having these conversations more openly, more frequently and more loudly.

“We were looking for excellence in all ways, including stories that resonate with women and readers living now, even if they are not set in the present, because the exciting thing about reading is that it wakes you up to the world you are living in.”

Commenting on the range of experience and nationalities in the list of authors, she added: “All diversity is something we should strive to do more of and celebrate.

“What marks out all of the entries is that they have found themselves in the world and found a way of looking at it.

“It’s really interesting that this list is so diverse as that’s not how it was discussed – it just came as a result of passionate readers – but it’s thrilling that it’s representing a big, broad, open world.”

The judges panel for the 22nd annual prize also includes journalist Sam Baker, presenter Katie Derham, writer Aminatta Forna and comedian Sara Pascoe.

A condensed shortlist of entries will be announced on April 3 with the final awards ceremony on June 7 at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

The winner will receive a cheque for £30,000 and the bronze “Bessie”, previously won by the likes of Tremain, Zadie Smith, Helen Dunmore and AM Homes.

The full longlist includes:

Stay With Me, by Ayobami Adebayo

The Power, by Naomi Alderman

Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood

Little Deaths, by Emma Flint

The Mare, by Mary Gaitskill

The Dark Circle, by Linda Grant

The Lesser Bohemians, by Eimear McBride

Midwinter, by Fiona Melrose

The Sport Of Kings, by CE Morgan

The Woman Next Door, by Yewande Omotoso

The Lonely Hearts Hotel, by Heather O’Neill

The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry

Barkskins, by Annie Proulx

First Love, by Gwendoline Riley

Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien

The Gustav Sonata, by Rose Tremain