John Spurling’s TheTen Thousand Things, the story of Wang Meng, a minor bureaucrat of imperial China who found solace in his exquisite painting during the dying years of the Yuan dynasty, has won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Alistair Moffat, the chairman of the judges said “the illumination shone by John Spurling…
Ali Smith has won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel How to be Both in what Shami Chakrabarti, Chair of the judges, said was a “vindication” for the prize. “It’s not just about women writers not always getting their fair share of prizes, it’s also about women’s stories and their protagonists,” she…
Flora 717 knows her place. As a sanitation worker bee she is bottom of the heap inside her rigidly hierarchical world. But she is both happy and proud to be playing her allotted part in the smooth running of a society in which “Accept, Obey, Serve” provide both voluntary guidelines and the brutally enforced law. Inside the hive individual thoughts are dangerous. Obedience is absolute and self-sacrifice for the common good, the norm. Each member knows their place and finds reassurance within its parameters, however harsh.
The Bees, Laline Paull’s debut novel, was described by Publishers Weekly
Debut author Laline Paull is on the shortlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015 alongside established authors like Ali Smith and Anne Tyler. The full list, just announced is: Rachel Cusk – Outline (Faber) Laline Paull – The Bees (Fourth Estate) Kamila Shamsie – A God in Every Stone (Bloomsbury) Ali Smith –…
How many books is too many? I confess there’s more than a little self interest involved in the question. The long list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced and it’s a whopping 20 books long, albeit from 165 original applicants. The prize, which was previously known as the Orange, is for a full-length novel written in english by a woman of any nationality and published in the United Kingdom.
Of course a plus for having long lists longer than the customary 10 or 12 titles is that many more authors are able to get their moment in the literary sunshine. This particularly applies to debut authors of which the long list has five including Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing, which won the Costa Prize, and Laline Paull’s dystopian The Bees. It also gives the judges the opportunity to broaden the range of work celebrated beyond what might be viewed as more “conventional” subject and style.
On the downside, I know I am not alone in liking to read as many of the contenders for
And the Oscar goes to … oops, sorry, wrong golden moment. Just as the stars were celebrating winning an illustrious bald statue, 15 authors were having their own, quieter, moment of pleasure having been named on the longlist for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish novelist and poet, is considered by many a founding father of the historical novel with Ivanhoe, one of the collection known as the Waverley Novels, amongst his most famous books.
In coming up with the award longlist, which increased from 12 last year, the judges did a considerable amount of time travelling from 11th Century England (The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth) to 17th Century Amsterdam (The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton) to 20th Century Europe (The Zone by Martin Amis) and occasionally, even further afield. The shortlist will be announced next month with the final winner being revealed at the Borders Book Festival in June. Previous winners are: Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall), Andrea Levy (The Long Story), Sebastian Barry (On Canaan’s Side), Tan Twan Eng (The Garden of Evening Mists) and Robert Harris (An Officer and a Spy).
The full long list is: