You know it must be December when, like Christmas cards, the Best Books of 2015 lists start appearing reinforcing just how many great books you missed out on during the year. Here are the New York Times’s favourites. The Door by Magda Szabo; A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin; Outline…
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
Sometimes, the list of entrants who don’t make make it onto the shortlist for a literary prize can be as interesting as those who do. The prestigious Folio Prize, which is open to books of any genre from anywhere in the world, written in the english language and published in England, this week named its final eight, and there were some surprising omissions. First the shortlist which includes some exciting and original works: