The Women's Prize for Fiction 2021 Longlist

This year’s longlist reflects once more the incredible diversity of women’s fiction writing in English, ranging from a story of female emancipation through a Barbadian folktale to a wickedly sardonic take on vexed mother-daughter relationships. The longlist will be whittled down to a shortlist of six books on Wednesday 28 April with the winner crowned on Wednesday 7 July.

Founded as a riposte to 1991’s all-male Booker Prize shortlist, since 1996 the Women’s Prize for Fiction has underpinned a renaissance in literary fiction written by women. The sheer standard of former winners (including Zadie Smith, Madeline Miller, Ali Smith and the much-missed Andrea Levy) has ensured the Prize’s continued standing as one of the country’s elite literary awards.

The Longlist

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Spanning the 1950s to the 1990s and from the Deep South to California, Bennett’s stunning novel follows the journeys of two estranged twin sisters leading very different lives – to the extent of adopting different racial identities.
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A frustrated reporter and a potential Virgin birth inform the subtly absorbing narrative of Small Pleasures; a delicate, tender story about belief, credulity and tilting at happiness.
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Weaving a rich gothic atmosphere, the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell mines a darkly fantastical vision with a tale of a very singular house and its mysterious inhabitants.
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A murderous pact between strangers that swiftly subverts expectations, Craig’s gripping novel blends edge-of-the-seat thrills with razor-sharp satire to ensnare the reader on the very first page.
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Psychologically astute and dryly funny, Exciting Times delivers an enthralling dissection of love, commitment, power and privilege in the international circles of contemporary Hong Kong.
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Devastatingly acute and acerbically funny, Doshi’s forensic account of a toxic mother-daughter relationship skewers themes of betrayal, regret and memory in incisive prose.
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Boasting Dawn French’s unique brand of unfailing wit and authentic emotional warmth, Because of You is a funny, uplifting tale of mothers and daughters and the family bonds that make us who we are.
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In sharp yet sumptuous prose, Fuller paints a stunning portrait of two middle-aged twins whose carefully cultivated existence on the fringes of society begins to unravel following the death of their mother.
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A much-anticipated second novel from the award-winning author of Homegoing, Transcendent Kingdom charts the experiences of a Ghanaian immigrant family in modern America.
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A multi-generational novel of rare skill and precision, Jones’s full-length fiction debut focuses on a Barbados where poverty and misogyny lurk under the surface and where a cautionary folk tale takes on multiple meanings for three very different women.
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Audacious and provocative, Leilani’s firecracker of a debut charts Edie’s awkward slalom through modern life, from dead-end hook ups and crushed ambitions to a romantic liaison that has disaster written all over it.
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A powerful meditation on the value of human connection, poet Patricia Lockwood’s mordantly funny debut novel explores the pitfalls of social media in an entirely original fashion.
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A complex, rewarding novel about the many forms of sisterly relationship and what we are prepared to sacrifice for the ones we love, Lyon’s tale of two sets of siblings in a carer-patient dynamic is acutely observed and compellingly written.
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Dissecting the mechanics of a marriage with rich psychological insight, Nothing But Blue Sky finds a bereaved husband questioning the truth about the woman he thought he knew inside out.
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Navigating the complicated waters of family-making and motherhood in the twenty-first century, this exciting and very funny debut follows the lives of three trans and cis women living in New York.
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The culmination of a hugely ambitious and fast-paced literary project, Summer continues the interplay between the recent past and modern day society that marked out Smith's preceding works as so resonant and insightful.
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Previous Winners

An American Marriage
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Home Fire
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The Power
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The Glorious Heresies
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How to be Both
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A Girl is a Half-formed Thing
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May We Be Forgiven
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The Song of Achilles
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The Tiger's Wife
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The Lacuna
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Home
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The Road Home
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Half of a Yellow Sun
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On Beauty
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We Need To Talk About Kevin
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Small Island
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Property
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Bel Canto
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Women's Prize for Fiction 25 Years Anniversary
Women's Prize for Fiction 25 Years Anniversary