Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014

Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014.
One of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Every June, a panel of five women, all passionate readers and at the top of their respective professions, choose the winner. This year’s winner will be announced on the 4th June, 2014.

Now is the perfect time to read the shortlisted books and decide if you agree with their choice! Just click on the titles to check availability and reserve for FREE via our online catalogue. Find out more about the prize, and previous winners at: www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk

We would love to know what you think about the books featured in this year’s prize!

2014 shortlisted titles are:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah
adichieFrom the award-winning author of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, a powerful story of love, race and identity. As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?
Fearless, gripping, spanning three continents and numerous lives, the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning ‘Americanah’ is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today’s globalized world.

Hannah Kent – Burial Rites
kentIn northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdøttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district office Jøn Jønsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tøti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed…

Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowland
lahiriFrom Subhash’s earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother’s sight. So close in age, they were inseparable in childhood and yet, as the years pass – as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam and riots sweep across India – their brotherly bond can do nothing to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives. Udayan – charismatic and impulsive – finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty. He will give everything, risk all, for what he believes, and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him.

Audrey Magee – The Undertaking
mageeDesperate to escape the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met; it is a marriage of convenience that promises ‘honeymoon’ leave for him and a pension for her should he die on the front. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin; both are surprised by the attraction that develops between them. When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into the Nazi party hierarchy, wedding herself, her young husband and their unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina, ordinary people stained with their small share of an extraordinary guilt, find their simple dream of family increasingly hard to hold on to…

Eimear McBride – A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
mcbrideEimear McBride’s novel tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother after a tumour leaves him severely brain-damaged. Not so much a stream of consciousness, as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, and a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and sensual urges of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist, to read ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn’t always comfortable – but it is always a revelation…

 

Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch
tarttAged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

You may also want to try out the books which did not quite make it to the shortlist but are still well worth a read!

Margaret Atwood – MaddAddam

Suzanne Berne –  The Dogs of Littlefield

Fatima Bhutto – The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

Claire Cameron –  The Bear

Lea Carpenter – Eleven Days

M.J. Carter – The Strangler Vine

Eleanor Catton – The Luminaries

Deborah Kay Davies – Reasons She Goes to the Woods

Elizabeth Gilbert – The Signature of All Things

Rachel Kushner – The Flamethrowers

Charlotte Mendelson – Almost English

Anna Quindlen – Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Elizabeth Strout – The Burgess Boys

Evie Wyld – All The Birds, Singing

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