The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Giveaway: How To Be Both – Ali Smith

Really this post should be basically entitled, who would like to read Ali Smith’s How To Be Both along with me as that is what I really want to know. What on earth am I talking about? Well, the other day I got a lovely email from the lovely folk at the Bailey’s Prize for Fiction, whose longlist I tried to guess a while back and whose shortlist I discussed here, to see if I would like to champion on of the shortlisted books once they were announced. Of course I said yes immediately, especially when they said that five of you could win the book too.


I was instantly desperate to do it, though I was worried there might be some raised eyebrows at a man reading one of the titles (seriously did you see my Twitter account the other day when I dared ask why a single man couldn’t be on the judging panel as a man who loves fiction written by women, anyway…) and it seemed obvious that the book I should keep on championing would be Laline Paull’s The Bees which I have read and banged on about ever since, or maybe A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie. However I thought there could be a nice twist, and the start of something different on Savidge Reads, by having it as a kind of book group (like we did with the Not The TV Book Club when I hosted it here and here or when I did the Sensation Season) and doing something I haven’t read as yet and so plumped for…


How To Be Both By Ali Smith. This is a book I have been meaning to read for bloody ages both as I love Ali Smith, and have done for quite some time, and also because I love the idea that a book can be read in two different ways, literally not just figuratively.  I also love the idea of having a book group of sorts on Savidge Reads, I have been a fan of Cornflower’s Book Club for some time, where you know the books in advance and can read ahead and join in the debate, rather than when I post my reviews, which I hope have an element of surprise.

So who fancies joining me? We could agree to all read it and talk about it on Monday the 1st of June, two days before the winner is announced, what do you think? I would love lots of you to be involved, I think it could be a hoot.

I can also get copies of it into five of your hands (you have to be in the UK to be eligible for postage reasons, sorry, I would still love readers everywhere to join in) thanks to the folk at the Baileys Prize for Fiction who have held some copies aside. All you have to do is leave a comment saying you are in and up for it below by 1600hrs GMT on Monday the 27th of April! Good luck! Oh and you are all being spoiled silly as I have another give away coming tomorrow too…


Filed under Give Away, Random Savidgeness

29 responses to “The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Giveaway: How To Be Both – Ali Smith

  1. ReaderSP

    I’m up for it, although am in Australia so cannot be sent the book. Sounds like a great idea though! 😀

  2. jananav

    I’ve been wanting to read this since I heard her interviewed on The Guardian Books podcast. I already have a copy (which is good because I’m not in the UK nor do I ever win any prizes anyway). I look forward to your read-along!

  3. Louise Edwards

    I would like to join in as well please! I haven’t read any of her books but have heard very good things about her, especially of course about How To Be Both. Looking forward to it! Great idea, perhaps if it goes well you could make it more if a regular thing?

  4. Beate

    Count men in ! I’ve been a fan of the Womens’ Prize for Literature ( no matter what it’s called at the moment ) for years and always read some of the long/ shortlisted titels. It’s always a good way to read books you normally wouldn’t. I’ve already started reading HOW TO BE BOTH and look forward to sharing my ideas with you. Love the idea !

  5. Mark

    Hi Simon, “I am in and up for it.”
    Many thanks,

  6. I’m up for it. Feel very out of the loop on prizes, I don’t think I’ve read any of the short list!

  7. poppypeacockpens

    Count me in too… but already have a copy so please exclude me from giveaway. Really look forward to discussing it June 1st 😊

  8. Well I was planning on reading this anyways, so throw me into contest. And I’m really interested to know which version you’ll be giving away! Half were printed with the historical section first, and half with the contemporary section first!

  9. Sarah

    This sounds like a brilliant idea. Could you put my name into the hat please?

  10. dirtmother

    There is only one way to put an end to the steady stream of “You must read ‘How to be Both'” so please add my name to the draw.

  11. My book group is reading How to be Both this month… And as they’re not great at actually reading the book (!) I might just have to join in this discussion!

    Question for you – which book should I start with – Camera or Eyes? Does it matter?

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  13. I’ve never read Ali Smith and this would be an excellent way to start!

  14. Ann

    Please add my name to the draw.

  15. I love Ali Smith, so please, count me in! Please include me in the draw (I’m UK based).

  16. A Kiwi in Oxford

    I would love to join in a virtual book group so please count me into the draw. I have not read Ali Smith before so this looks like a good place to start.

  17. Maggie Yoder

    I would love to join in. I live in the U.S. so leave my name out of the drawing. Looking forward to it. This will be my first Ali Smith novel!

  18. Ooh, I’m in, for the draw and the group read! I’ve never read Ali Smith but I’ve been interested in this one for aaaaages.

  19. Anna

    Oooh I would love to join in too! Sounds like a great idea :). Also, this will most likely sound incredibly ditsy, but I hadn’t connected Bailey’s the drink with Bailey’s the Prize until I read your post. I just thought it was coincidence that the Bailey’s Prize had the logo of a random bottle.* epic facepalm*.

    • I’ve already read Ali Smith and absolutely loved it. She was my favourite for the Booker and still is my favourite for the Bailey’s. Loved Laline Paull and Sarah Waters but How to be Both is still nr. One. Looking forward to talking about it.

  20. I’d definitely be up for it. Though I’m particularly intrigued to know if you’re going to be giving away all the same version, or different ones – and how that might affect the discussion if people had had those competing reading experiences.

  21. mee

    It’s the one book from the shortlist that I’m interested to read (and maybe The Bees too thanks to your raving reviews). Would love to be entered in the giveaway. Cross fingers 🙂 (I tried to comment a couple of times but they didn’t seem to go in, apologies if you receive a few).

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  23. Simon, this is such a great idea! I would love to participate. I actually just finished reading How to be Both a few weeks ago. My husband and I read it at the same time – each of our copies had a different order for the internal books and we each had completely different reading experiences. That made me realize just how fascinating a group discussion of HTBB could be. I can’t wait to hear what other people have to say.

  24. Tami Preece

    I would love to join in as well. I live in the US so I wont be in the drawing but look forward to the discussion.

  25. Ruth Slater

    I’d love to join in. I’ve been meaning to get a copy of this book to read for a while. It sounds interesting.

  26. Count me in! This is my favourite prize so definitely up for this! *crosses everything*

  27. Kate Davis

    Please put my name in the hat, I read lots of poetry but nowhere near enough novels.

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