Ruth Ozeki © Kris Krug
Ruth Ozeki © Kris Krug

Ozeki, Shipstead and Mason longlisted for Women’s Prize for Fiction

Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness (Canongate), Maggie Shipstead’s Booker-shortlisted novel Great Circle (Transword) and Meg Mason’s word of mouth bestseller Sorrow & Bliss (Weidenfeld and Nicolson) are among the 16 titles competing for the £30,000 Women’s Prize for Fiction, The Bookseller reports.

According to the report, the prize, now in it’s 27th year, is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written by a woman and published in the UK between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022. 

Any woman writing in English, whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter, is eligible.

Independent publishers make a strong showing this year, representing a quarter of the list, with Unbound, Myriad Editions and Europa Editions each having a title longlisted for the first time, while Jacaranda Books is featured for a second time.

Debut authors in the running include Lisa Allen-Agostini for The Bread the Devil Knead (Myriad Editions), a novel exploring an abusive love affair, and female liberation set against a Trinidadian backdrop. Kirsty Capes is nominated for her coming-of-age story about female friendship, Careless (Orion Fiction) alongside The Paper Palace (Viking), Miranda Cowley Heller’s family saga told over 24 hours in Cape Cod. Completing the list of debuts is Violet Kupersmith with Build Your House Around My Body (Oneworld), a tale of two Vietnamese women who go missing decades apart, and Dawnie Walton’s The Final Revival of Opal and Nev (Quercus), a novel that re-creates the career of a fictional music partnership, set in 1970s New York and Paris.

Also in the running are five previously longlisted authors in Leone Ross, Catherine Chidgey, Elif Shafak, Charlotte Mendelson and Rachel Elliott. Joining their ranks is Louise Erdrich with her 23rd novel The Sentence (Corsair American.) Morowa Yejidé’s Creatures of Passage (Jacaranda Books) and Lulu Allison’s Salt Lick (Unbound Digital) complete the list.

“Choosing just 16 novels from 175 submissions was a marathon task,” said Mary Ann Sieghart, author and chair of the judges. “After a lively and passionate discussion, my fellow judges were delighted to find that our 16 favourite novels were incredibly diverse, written by women of all ages from all over the world, covering different genres, and from publishers large and small. We are confident that this wonderful, eclectic and inspiring longlist will offer something to entrance every reader, both male and female.”

She is joined on the judging panel by award-winning journalist and editor Lorraine Candy, global bestselling novelist, journalist and podcaster Dorothy Koomson, journalist and award-winning author Anita Sethi and Pandora Sykes, journalist, broadcaster and author.

The judges will narrow down the longlist to a shortlist of six, which will be announced on 27th April. The prize will be awarded on 15th June at an awards ceremony in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze figurine known as a “Bessie”, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.


The longlist in full:

The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Myriad Editions)

Salt Lick by Lulu Allison (Unbound Digital)  

Careless by Kirsty Capes (Orion Fiction)  

Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey (Europa Editions)

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (Viking)  

Flamingo by Rachel Elliott  (Tinder Press)

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (Corsair)

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith (Oneworld)

Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelsohn (Mantle)

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate Books)  

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross (Faber & Faber)

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak  (Viking)  

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (Doubleday)

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton (Quercus)

Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé (Jacaranda Books)

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