For a couple of days now, I have been listening to recent podcasts from BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and have been inspired to want to read all of the previous winners of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. To mark its 20th anniversary, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is celebrating with ‘Best of the Best’ – a collaboration with Woman’s Hour to vote on your favourite prize winner from the past ten years. Each Chair of Judges, from 2006-2015, will be interviewed to discuss ‘their’ winning novel between October 19th – 30th. The winner of the public vote will be announced on 2nd November. This, in turn, has piqued my interest in the previous winners. Although I have read a few of them, there are still many authors I haven’t explored or even heard of before that have won this exciting and innovative prize for women’s fiction. I also realised, when looking at the list of winners from its inception in 1996, that I know even fewer writers from the first decade of the prize’s opening.
I will, therefore, be creating a new personal project to read all twenty of the previous winners of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, as well as any new additions in the future, and will create a page to keep all of my reviews in one place. Although I have read and reviewed a few of them – such as Marilynne Robinson’s Home, Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Ali Smith’s How to be Both – I may, in the future, re-read these again and post a second review.
Perhaps once I have read all twenty books I will be in more of a position to comment on which one is the ‘best of the best’, but I do look forward to hearing the results of the public vote on 2nd November.