Women’s Prize for Fiction announces 2021 longlist

Wednesday 10 March 2021, 18:00 GMT: The Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the biggest annual, international celebrations of women’s creativity – today announces the 2021 longlist. Now in its 26th year, the Prize shines a spotlight on outstanding, ambitious, original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world. 

The 2021 longlisted titles are as follows (alphabetical by surname):

  • Brit Bennett – The Vanishing Half (Dialogue Books)
  • Clare Chambers – Small Pleasures (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • Susanna Clarke – Piranesi (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Amanda Craig – The Golden Rule (Little, Brown)
  • Naoise Dolan – Exciting Times (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) 
  • Avni Doshi – Burnt Sugar (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Dawn French – Because Of You (Michael Joseph)
  • Claire Fuller – Unsettled Ground (Fig Tree) 
  • Yaa Gyasi – Transcendent Kingdom (Viking Books)
  • Cherie Jones – How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (Tinder Press)
  • Raven Leilani – Luster (Picador)
  • Patricia Lockwood – No One is Talking About This (Bloomsbury Circus)
  • Annabel Lyon – Consent (Atlantic Books) 
  • Kathleen McMahon – Nothing But Blue Sky (Sandycove Press)
  • Torrey Peters – Detransition, Baby (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Ali Smith – Summer (Hamish Hamilton)

This year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers and a range of genres and themes – family (twins and siblings, mother-daughter relationships); motherhood; rural poverty and isolation; addiction; identity and belonging; race and class; grief and happiness; coming-of-age and later life. The novels span a range of different global settings, from South London to Deep South; Ghana, Hong Kong, Barbados, Brooklyn and a fantasy realm. The list features six debut novels, as well as a previously longlisted author (Amanda Craig) and one previous winner who has also been shortlisted twice before (Ali Smith). 

Chair of judges and novelist Bernardine Evaristo, says: ‘We read so many brilliant novels for this year’s prize and had an energetic judging session where we discussed our passions, opinions and preferences. Sadly, we had to let some very deserving books go but we’re confident that we have chosen sixteen standout novels that represent a truly wide and varied range of fiction by women that reflects multiple perspectives, narrative styles and preoccupations. These novels fascinated, moved, inspired and challenged us and we’re excited at announcing their inclusion on the Women’s Prize longlist.’

Bernardine is joined on the judging panel by podcaster, author and journalist, Elizabeth Day; TV and radio presenter, journalist and writer, Vick Hope; print columnist and writer, Nesrine Malik; and news presenter and broadcaster, Sarah-Jane Mee

Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by women to the widest range of readers possible, the Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written by a woman and published in the UK between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible. 

The judges will narrow down this longlist of 16 books to a shortlist of six, which will be announced on Wednesday 28 April 2021. The 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be awarded on Wednesday 7 July 2021 at an awards ceremony in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

For more information, please contact Christian Lewis: Christian@womensprizeforfiction.co.uk 

Author photos, press releases, book jackets and other assets can be found here

_

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • This year’s longlist carries six British authors, five American, two Irish, one Canadian, one Barbadian, and one Ghanaian / American author.
  • The following author has previously won the Prize: Ali Smith won in 2015 with How to be Both, she has also previously been shortlisted twice (in 2001 with Hotel World  and in 2006 with The Accidental) and once longlisted (in 2012 with There But for The). 
  • The following author has previously been longlisted for the Prize: Amanda Craig’s novel Hearts and Minds was longlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. 
  • There are six debut novels on the 2021 longlist: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi, Luster by Raven Leilani, No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones, and Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters.
  • Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 shortlist announcement: Wednesday 28 April 2021
  • 2021 Winner announcement and Awards Ceremony: Wednesday 7 July 2021

The Prize Podcasts


Tune into Dolly Alderton, Scarlett Curtis and more on our new podcast