The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction stands as one of the most significant literary prizes in the United Kingdom and is unique in considering only writing by female authors.
The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016 winner announced
We’re pleased to confirm that Irish author Lisa McInerney has won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her incandescent debut, The Glorious Heresies.
Margaret Mountford, Chair of Judges, said: ‘After a passionate discussion around a very strong shortlist, we chose Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies, a superbly original, compassionate novel that delivers insights into the very darkest of lives through humour and skilful storytelling. A fresh new voice and a wonderful winner.’
McInerney first found a hugely receptive audience with her award-winning blog Arse End of Ireland, which for several years brought a sense of much-needed earthy realism to the hyped glamour of the Celtic Tiger.
These same uncompromising sensibilities have found their way into the pages of The Glorious Heresies, a frank and sometimes brutal descent into Cork’s post-crash underclass. Enter Ryan, Tony, Georgie, Maureen and her psychotic gang-boss son Jimmy, five misfits who are about to be tragically united by a single unintentional murder. With virtuoso verve, McInerney, as The Guardian put it, ‘…has talent to burn… an irrepressible volley of unrehearsed words from a brand new throat.’
As Kate Mosse, novelist and co-founder of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction noted, ‘This year, the Prize comes of age. Since 1996, we have honoured novelists of exceptional talent, have promoted and celebrated fiction from all over the world, have brought together readers and writers, and supported literacy, research and reading initiatives. Now, as we celebrate the work of Lisa McInerney - our 21st winner - the list of those shortlisted and winning novels, past and present, stands as a tribute to women's talent, ingenuity, originality and imagination.’
We at Waterstones warmly congratulate Lisa on her win and welcome a powerful new presence on the fiction stage.Buy the book
Among the 20 novels longlisted are two by Irish writers, including Anne Enright for The Green Road. The eight British novelists include the always-excellent Kate Atkinson, for A God in Ruins, and British-Serbian Vesna Goldsworthy, whose first novel, Gorsky, has been a Waterstones Book of the Month. Hanya Yanagihara’s long, dark, unexpected hit A Little Life also features.
The panel of judges read over 150 books between them, and chair of judges Margaret Mountford said of the longlist: "We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer."
How to be Both is the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction winner
Following a unique dual-narrative, How to be Both differs depending on which edition you buy. In some copies, the story of a teenage girl called George dealing with the death of her mother begins the novel while in others the opening chapter follows Italian renaissance artist, Francesco del Cossa. The plot remains the same across editions but your understanding of the novel changes depending on the character order you're presented with. In lesser hands, the conceit would fall apart under itself but Smith handles the idea beautifully.
"I’m exceptionally pleased to see Smith’s novel recognised by the Baileys," said Chris White, Waterstones Fiction Buyer. "Constantly inventive, hugely original, endlessly rewarding and immensely entertaining, How to Be Both is one of the finest novels to have emerged in years."
The book has already won the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize, the Saltire Literary Book of the Year and the 2014 Costa Novel Award as well as being shortlisted for both the Man Booker and Folio Prizes. This is, by any measure, a strong vote of confidence.
“Ancient and modern meet and speak to each other in this tender, brilliant and witty novel of grief, love, sexuality and shape-shifting identity,” said Shami Chakrabarti, Chair of Judges.
Now in its twentieth year, the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction is the only annual book award that solely celebrates fiction written by women.
This year's shortlist was particularly strong. Amongst the selected titles were two of our own Book Club picks, The Bees by Laline Paull and Kamila Shamsie's A God in Every Stone. Also nominated were perennial Waterstones favourites Anne Tyler and Sarah Waters.