The six-title shortlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction was announced last week. This award, previously known as the Orange Prize and the Bailey's Women's Prize, is open to any full-length novel written in English by a woman of any nationality. The novel must have been published in the UK in the previous year, though it may also have been published in English elsewhere. Kate Williams chairs this year's judging panel and is joined by Arifa Akbar, Dolly Alderton, Leyla Hussein and Sarah Wood.
As in the previous two years, CCB book group members have risen to to the Women's Prize Shortlist Challenge - to read all six books (or as many as possible) and then meet to choose their winner shortly before the official announcement on 5th June.
This year's shortlist was whittled down from 163 entries and includes one debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer, and the 2018 Man Booker winner Milkman. Madeline Miller, author of Circe, won the Orange Prize in 2012. Until 5th June you can buy the shortlist bundle from CCB at 20% discount.
The Silence of the Girls | Pat Barker
In Pat Barker's retelling of The Iliad, the central character is queen Briseis, captured by the Greeks and awarded to Achilles as his prize. The novel explores the carnage of the Trojan War from the female perspective, and how Briseis, Andromache and numerous other displaced or enslaved women fight to be free.
My Sister, the Serial Killer | Oyinkan Braithwaite
When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This is a witty and sinster debut novel from Oyinkan Braithwaite.
Milkman | Anna Burns
In this unnamed city, middle sister tries to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…
Ordinary People | Diana Evans
Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning. Melissa has a new baby and doesn't want to let it change her. Damian has lost his father and intends not to let it get to him. Michael is still in love with Melissa but can't quite get close enough to her to stay faithful. Stephanie just wants to live a normal, happy life with Damian and their three children but his bereavement is getting in the way.
An American Marriage | Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream, and settling into the routine of their life together when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. This stirring love story is a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.
Circe | Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.