Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction: Winners Challenge!

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.

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11 Replies to “Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction: Winners Challenge!”

      1. My money is still on the Yellow Sun, but will see how the vote goes. Have started on the Marilynne Robinson now then just the Half Formed Girl to go but dreading that one – see you have reviewed it, off to see what you thought of it…

  1. Sadly, I’ve only read The Lacuna from this list. I started two others but didn’t finish them: How to be both and May We Be Forgiven. I’ll be curious about the vote. Enjoy your reading!

    1. I read The Lacuna years ago, I love Barbara Kingsolver. It is one of those books I will have to revisit as I can’t remember much at all!

  2. My endeavor to read every book that has been shortlisted for this prize has stalled in recent months, but I’m hoping to get back to it next year. I’m curious to find out which book will be the “best of the best.”

    1. Yes, so am I! Good luck reading all of the shortlisted books, that is something I would like to do once I have completed reading all of the winners.

  3. This is a great idea! I can’t wait to read your thoughts on all the winners.

    We Need to Talk About Kevin and Small Island especially as they are the other winners I’ve read (in addition to the ones you’ve mentioned you’ve read).

  4. Hey, I’m doing this challenge, too! The ones from the first decade of the prize are particularly interesting, you’re right–for me it’s because they were published before I had a strong awareness of contemporary lit, and it’s great being able to come to amazing writers for the first time. Just finished Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (not esp. impressive) and am currently on A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (quite sexy…)

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