The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2014

One of my favourite prizes of the bookish year is what we now know as the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. I have been a supporter of it for many a year now, trying to guess the longlist and then trying to read them. I normally stay up until the midnight announcement but as I appear to have aged by about 20 plus years in the last few weeks I couldn’t. I did wake up at about 5am, when Oscar decided to be sick behind the wardrobe, and then have a sneak peak and it’s a really interesting list…


Before I go on to share the list can I just say there is so much that is brilliant about the above picture it is almost too much. Imagine being on a panel of judges with Mary Beard and Caitlin Moran, you’d just be in heaven. Anyway, the list of twenty books in full is as follows…

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood
The Dogs of Littlefield – Suzanne Berne
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon – Fatima Bhutto
The Bear – Claire Cameron
Eleven Days – Lea Carpenter
The Strangler Vine – M.J. Carter
The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
Reasons She Goes to the Woods – Deborah Kay Davies
The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
The Flamethrowers – Rachel Kushner
The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
The Undertaking – Audrey Magee
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
Almost English – Charlotte Mendelson
Still Life with Bread Crumbs – Anna Quindlen
The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
All The Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld

Amazingly though I don’t have all of them I do happen to have thirteen (I am hoping this is not an omen) of them in the house 4.5 of which I have read.


I didn’t try and guess the longlist this year (what a party pooper) because I didn’t feel after last year being my slowest and quietest year for reading what with Gran (who was a huge fan of the prize, I think it lead her to Rose Tremain, and would be happy I have posed the books on what were her sofa’s on which she did much reading and I will carry on the tradition of) and all that jazz I didn’t feel that I could give a good enough insight. Plus there is always the worry you look super smug, then the mild embarrassment when I am sooooo wrong and the invariable almost moan of ‘why wasn’t x and y book on the list?’ Speaking of which Naomi Wood, Fiona McFarlane? Moving swiftly on…

I would have stabbed a guess at All the Birds, Singing, A Girl is a Half Formed Thing, Burial Rites and Almost English being on the list as they were all highlights of my reading year last year, so naturally I am thrilled for those to be on the list. I may also have hazarded a guess at Americanah and MaddAddam being on the list as they are by two of my favourite authors though shockingly I didn’t read these upon release, strange. I also would have guessed The Luminaries, The Goldfinch and The Flamethrowers as they have been three of the most talked about books and also interestingly three books which seem to really divide people, interesting.

Berne, Bhutto, Cameron and Carter I am excited about because I have them on my shelves, The Bear was actually one of the books I mentioned in The Readers ‘Books To Be Excited About January to June’ show. Yet, as always with me, it is the books I know very little or nothing about that are the ones that I instantly go off and look up.  Deborah Kay Davies is an author I have already read and was equally impressed and disturbed with True Things About Me so I will have to get my mitts on her knew one, Elizabeth Strout I know through Olive Kitteridge which I still haven’t read but Gran raved about, Lea Carpenter and Audrey Magee are completely knew to me which is most exciting.

So it is a really interesting list, some big names with big books, some debuts, some lesser known authors all in the mix. Now I just have to choose which one to start with… I was umming and ahhing about doing a shadow jury of beardy blogging blokes but I think to try them out as and when the whim takes me might be a better plan of action. So while I decide which one gets read next (I am leaning towards The Bear) which of these books have you read and what did you make of them? Which books are you keen to read? And what do you make of the list overall?


Filed under Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

22 responses to “The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2014

  1. Oscar was clearly over excited and unable to work the internet without you.

    • Hahaha, so that is what it was! The excitement was clearly too much he is now sleeping in ‘his’ armchair. He will probably start reading them while I am away this weekend.

  2. Victoria

    I’ve read 5 of the books on the longlist, and would recommend MaddAddam and the flamethrowers to read. I am keen to read the M.J.Carter and the Audrey Magee novels.

    • Interesting you mention The Flamethrowers, its one book which the cover has put me off so much (as have a few reviews) but it keeps getting listed for prizes, is it actually any good?

  3. kaggsysbookishramblings

    I’m biased – I just think Margaret Atwood should win *everything*!!!!

  4. I’ve only read one of them (I am so backed up when it comes to new fiction), but the list looks fantastic as far as the authors are concerned. Atwood is my favorite author on the list, but I’d love to see Adichie win it.

  5. Well I have to say from this list there are many that are on my TBR for this year – The Luminaries, The Goldfinch, MaddAddam, and The Lowland. However, I just finished Americanah and It was Fantastic!!! It’s my first 5 star rating of 2014. What an insightful book about race and immigration! It’s a must read and I hope it wins. Adichie has been put on my favourite authors list. 😀 I was surprised that Americanah wasn’t nominated for more prizes. I’m sick of hearing about Burial Rites. The hype is real! If you know what I mean. I’m just sure I won’t enjoy it nearly as mach as everybody says. I might also be interested in checking out The Signature of All Things. I say start with the one that floats your boat. You’ll read faster. 🙂 I wonder what the choices would have been if the jury had been more racially diverse?

  6. Deborah

    “I am leaning towards The Bear” – lifestyle choice? I’d certainly go for that 🙂

  7. David

    I’ve read six of them – ‘The Lowland’ was good but a bit too slick I thought; ‘Burial Rites’ I found disappointing after all the hype – it was okay, but it has a lot of typical first novel problems; ‘The Burgess Boys’ isn’t Strout’s best; ‘Americanah’ was brilliant in places, full of ideas and insights, but is strung together by a dull love story which I couldn’t care for; and ‘All the Birds, Singing’ I thought was very good.
    The one I’m really thrilled about is ‘Eleven Days’, which was one of my favourite books of last year – it’s just incredibly well-written, thoughtful, moving and intelligent, and I’d love to see it make the shortlist.

    I certainly won’t be trying to read all the longlist, but there are a few on there I might now try: Deborah Kay Davies’, Suzanne Berne’s and Fatima Bhutto’s books particularly appeal.
    Very surprised to see Anna Quindlen on there – have I wrongly assumed her to be middle-brow romantic fiction? I know my Mum reads her when she wants something easy to read in between her Persephones and Virago Modern Classics…

  8. Well, I’ve read none of ’em – I was hoping Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird would appear, because (a) it’s brilliant, and (b) I actually read a 2014 novel and feel this ought to be recognised in some manner. 😉

  9. This is such a great list! I really have some reading to do!

  10. Annabel (gaskella)

    I own eight – but have read none … yet.

  11. lizzysiddal

    I own eight, have read 3 (The Luminaries, All the Birds, Singing and Burial Rites). If that were my shortlist, I’d give the prize to Burial Rites, which I thought brilliant.

  12. Colette Jones

    I am curious which you gave up on to make it 4.5.

  13. I have read 4 (The Luminaries, Americanah, The Signature of All Things and The Burgess Boys) and I have The Goldfinch and All the Birds, Singing on the shelf.

    Great to read about some new authors that I haven’t yet seen reviewed, those are the titles I will be looking out for, to learn more about. Fab list!

  14. I’ve read 5ish (The Goldfinch, The Signature of All Things, Americanah, The Burgess Boys, Burial Rites and about 1/3 of The Luminaries). I can’t wait for All the Birds, Singing to be published here in the US – a copy is on its way to me right now. I know you’ve been wavering on The Goldfinch, but I’d still love to see what you end up thinking of it. Americanah and The Signature of all Things were both wonderful, too.

  15. I have a couple in my reading stack and have already read a few. Although The Goldfinch was such a page-turner, I’m crossing my fingers for Burial Rites – yes, there has been lots of hype but it has been overlooked when it comes to prize long and short lists. Hopefully this changes because I thought it was just beautiful.

  16. If I was to name the prize that suits my reading tastes best it would be this one. This year I have only read one of the long listed books but I did love it! Several of the others are on my list to get to one day!

  17. I’ve read The Bear, just reviewed it. Good and haunting x

  18. This is the first year since I’ve started following the award that I haven’t read any of the books on the longlist. I’m not sure which one to start with!

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