The 2017 short list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced, featuring six novels by female authors writing in English from across the globe.
The award ceremony will take place at Royal Festival Hall in London’s South bank Centre on 7 June 2017, where the winner will receive £30,000 and a bronze “Bessie” trophy.
Set up in 1996, the award – now in its 22nd year – champions excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing. The novelists have been praised for the quality of their writing as well as the variety in subject matters.
“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,” said Tessa Ross. “It was therefore quite a challenge to whittle this fantastic longlist of 16 books down to only six.”
The short-listed books are as follows:
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀
Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.
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.
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
A spiralling tale of wealth and poverty, racism and rage, The Sport of Kings is an unflinching portrait of lives cast in shadow by the enduring legacy of slavery. A vital new voice, C. E. Morgan has given life to a tale as mythic and fraught as the South itself – a moral epic for our time.
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
Drawing us into the battleground of this marriage, Gwendoline Riley tells a transfixing story of mistakes and misalliances, of helplessness and hostility, in which both husband and wife have played a part. Could this possibly be, nonetheless, a story of love?
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music and silence, in which three musicians – the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow; the violin prodigy, Zhuli; and the enigmatic pianist, Kai – struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.