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The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction


Baileys Women's PrizeThe Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction was originally launched in 1995 as the Orange Prize for Fiction by a group of publishers, booksellers, journalists and agents, who felt that some of the biggest literary prizes often appeared to overlook wonderful writing by women. Since then, the Prize has established itself as a highlight of the literary calendar, with the longlists, shortlists and winning books eagerly anticipated by male and female readers alike. The prize is awarded to the woman who, in the opinion of the judges (all female), has written the best, eligible full-length novel in English.

The winner receives £30,000 and a bronze sculpture known as a 'Bessie', designed by Grizel Niven, sister of actor David Niven.

In 2005, the Orange of Oranges, a public vote on the best winner from the first ten years, was won, as is usual in such polls, by the most recent winner, in this case Andrea Levy's Small Island. Levy's book also completed a unique double in winning two of the three biggest UK literary prizes, the Orange Prize and the Whitbread (since rebranded the Costa) Book of the Year. In 2015, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was chosen by the Chairs from 2006-2015 as the Best of the Best for the award's second decade.

The Orange Prize for New Writers was launched in 2005, looking for works of excellence, originality and accessibility, as well as promise by debut female authors, but was discontinued after 2010.

In 2011, Foyles was especially proud when employee Anne Peile's first novel, Repeat It Today with Tears, reached the longlist.

Many commentators, both male and female, have attacked the prize's premise of a women-only entrance requirement, but many others have defended it just as vigorously, on the grounds that the literary establishment remains markedly skewed towards male writers. In spite of - or perhaps because of - this perennial debate, the award continues to grow in popularity, with the readings by the shortlisted authors at the Royal Festival Hall a night or two before the ceremony a sell-out event.

Orange ended their sponsorship in 2012. The 2013 award, known simply as the Women's Prize for Fiction, was sponsored privately. In June 2013, a three-year sponsorship deal with Baileys was announced, to begin in 2014.

'It's bold, brilliant and beautiful, a book that will delight every reader concerned that the novel had nowhere new to go and reinforce every prejudice of those who dismiss literary fiction as pretentious.' The 2015 winner, announced on 3rd June, was Ali Smith for How to be Both. Her charming acceptance speech began with the words, 'Are you sure?'

The 2016 winner was  Lisa McInerney for her debut The Glorious Heresies.

Read Tracey Thorn's blog on her experience of judging the 2016 prize.

The 2017 longlist was announced on 8th March, to coincide with International Women's Day, and honours both new and well-established writers and the shortlist on 3rd April. The winner will be revealed on 7th June.
 

2017 Shortlist

Stay with Me
(Hardback)
Ayobami Adebayo
 
This Nigerian debut is the heart-breaking tale of what wanting a child can do to a person, a marriage and a family; a powerful and vivid story of what it...
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The Sport of Kings
(Paperback)
C. E. Morgan
 
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction...
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First Love
(Hardback)
Gwendoline Riley
 
Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars...
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Do Not Say We Have Nothing
(Paperback)
Madeleine Thien
 
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017 SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016 WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE 2016 SHORTLISTED FOR THE...
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The Dark Circle
(Paperback)
Linda Grant
 
The highly acclaimed new novel by the acclaimed author of Upstairs at the Party and the Booker-shortlisted The Clothes on Their Backs.
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2017 Longlist

The Woman Next Door
(Hardback)
Yewande Omotoso
Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed, and are sworn enemies, sharing hedge...
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Barkskins
(Hardback)
Annie Proulx
 
'One of the greatest American writers' Independent From Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize---winning author of The Shipping...
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The Essex Serpent
(Hardback)
Sarah Perry
Strange News Out of Essex...'One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade' - Sunday Times 'The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great...
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Do Not Say We Have Nothing
(Paperback)
Madeleine Thien
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
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The Mare
(Hardback)
Mary Gaitskill
 
Ginger is in her forties and a recovering alcoholic when she meets and marries Paul. When it becomes clear it's too late for her to have a baby of her...
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The Sport of Kings
(Hardback)
C. E. Morgan
 
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction...
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The Lesser Bohemians
(Hardback)
Eimear McBride
 
An eighteen-year-old Irish girl arrives in London to study drama and falls violently in love with an older actor. This older man has a disturbing past that the young girl...
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Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold
(Hardback)
Margaret Atwood
Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a Tempest like no other:...
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Midwinter
(Hardback)
Fiona Melrose
 
A heartbreaking story about a farming family, set between Suffolk and Zambia. Midwinter is a story of grief, forgiveness and family love. Longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Fiction 2017
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Little Deaths
(Hardback)
Emma Flint
It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and...
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First Love
(Hardback)
Gwendoline Riley
 
Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars...
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The Gustav Sonata
(Paperback)
Rose Tremain
 
Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav's father has mysteriously died, and his adored...
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Stay with Me
(Hardback)
Ayobami Adebayo
 
This Nigerian debut is the heart-breaking tale of what wanting a child can do to a person, a marriage and a family; a powerful and vivid story of what it...
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The Lonely Hearts Hotel: The Bailey's...
(Hardback)
Heather O'Neill
 
A novel about childhood damage and the redemptive power of art from an author twice listed for the Women's Prize and the Giller Prize
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Previous winners

2016 The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

2015 How to be Both by Ali Smith

2014 A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

2013 May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes

2012 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

2011 The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht

2010 The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

2009 Home by Marilynne Robinson

2008 The Road Home by Rose Tremain

2007 Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2006 On Beauty by Zadie Smith

2005 We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

2004 Small Island by Andrea Levy

2003 Property by Valerie Martin

2002 Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

2001 The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville

2000 When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant

1999 A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne

1998 Larry's Party by Carol Shields

1997 Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

1996 A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore

 

Winners of the Orange Prize for New Writers

2010 The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini

2009 An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay

2008 Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna

2007 The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly

2006 Disobedience by Naomi Alderman

2005 26a by Diana Evans

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