Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: Shortlist Reaction

Since the Philippines is 7 hours ahead of the UK, I stayed up until 2:30 AM to wait for the shortlist announcement, and couldn’t even take a short nap beforehand because I was so excited. You can watch the official announcement here, but here is the shortlist:

2020-03 Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist

I was able to guess four out of six (Girl, Woman, Other, Dominicana, A Thousand Ships, and The Mirror & the Light), though guessing Dominicana right gave me no pleasure, as I didn’t like that one at all. But I was so pleasantly surprised when Weather made it; it’s my favorite read so far, so I’m glad that it’ll get more attention now that it’s advanced to the shortlist. I had to laugh when A Thousand Ships was announced—if there’s anything I can conclude about the judges’ tastes, it’s that they cannot get enough of Greek retellings—but a number of bloggers also found this to be a great read, so fingers crossed that this one deserves its spot there.

Overall, I don’t hate this shortlist, but I’m disappointed that Dominicana was chosen over the far superior How We Disappeared or even Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line for the ‘diversity’ book. I honestly don’t know what the judges saw in that one. I also wonder about why there seems to be just one slot for a ‘diverse’ book in the first place, and why a shortlist that honors women and women’s writing features two books with famous dead white men (though arguably Shakespeare is a peripheral figure in Hamnet).

Still, this shortlist is a LOT better than my predictions. I’ll still be reading the remaining books on my list, and I’m even considering giving Mantel’s intimidating trilogy a go, since I’m seeing even more positive reviews of it now. Besides, The Mirror & the Light and Girl, Woman, Other are the only ones with a real shot at the Prize anyway. I’m still firmly rooting for Evaristo, though—Mantel already has TWO Bookers to her name while Evaristo has only a half, so I think it’s only fair she gets this one. I’ll keep you guys posted if I ever do plan on reading it.

What did you think about the shortlist? Any thoughts or violent reactions? Did your favorites make it there? Let me know in the comments!

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Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: Reflections and Shortlist Predictions

Only one more day to go before the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist will be announced, and I’m very excited to see what books will turn up! Unfortunately, because of the quarantine, I’ve only been able to obtain 9 of the 16 books on the list and I’m currently reading the tenth on Kindle, so I’ll be cobbling together my predictions from the books I have read along with what I’ve heard from the other Women’s Prize bloggers.

Once again, here’s a snapshot of the books on longlist, followed by my rankings so far:

2020-03 Women's Prize for Fiction Books 1

  1. Weather by Jenny Offill – ★★★★
  2. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – ★★★★
  3. Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner – ★★★★
  4. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson – ★★★★
  5. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara – ★★★★
  6. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – ★★★
  7. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – ★★½
  8. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo – ★★
  9. Dominicana by Angie Cruz – ★★
  10. How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee – Currently reading
  11. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes – TBR
  12. Actress by Anne Enright – TBR
  13. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – TBR
  14. Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie – TBR
  15. Girl by Edna O’Brien – Will not read; no rating
  16. The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel – Will not read; no rating

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