Guessing The Baileys Women’s Prize Longlist & Introducing The Bailey’s Bearded Book Club

A week today the longlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction will have been announced. This is something I get excited about every year, as I am a huge fan of the prize and the books it has listed in the past as well as its reason for being, however this year I am particularly excited as hopefully I am going to be doing some very exciting Bailey’s Prize based things alongside the lovely Eric of LonesomeReader. Over the next few weeks Eric and I will be the Bearded Bailey’s Book Club. Not only will be reading the entire longlist (all 20) we will be doing some podcasts on it and then, once the shortlist comes out in April, fingers crossed be doing some specific posts and podcasts (with the authors if all goes to plan, on The Readers Bailey’s Bonus Episodes) that you can all join in on, as well as hopefully some give aways and other random bits and bobs. What makes this all the more exciting is that both the lovely team and the board at the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction are all behind these bearded posts so we might be able to do even more. Hoorah. We would love you to join in with it, beard not required and we are not going to be ‘mansplaining’ just to nip that in the bud pronto.

So all that is all to come from next Tuesday onwards, so in the meantime we thought (and Eric’s will be on his blog) we would share the twenty books that we would like to see on the Bailey’s longlist. Now I have to say firstly that it has been an exceptional 12 months for women’s fiction, as I was doubly reminded looking up lots of eligible books, so this has been no easy task. Secondly I haven’t tried to second guess the judges (no one can do that), I have just gone on the books I have read and think should be on the list as well as some of the books I would really like to get around to reading, though I had to whittle this down from a very long list of books I would love to read. Thirdly, it will be wrong and that is good as it will introduce me to lots of great new books as Eric and I read the longlist over the following month, four a week if we have read zero of them – no pressure.

So here are my 20 (I got down to 31 titles that tore my mind, which I have saved in a document that I will send to Eric after this goes live, as we don’t know the others lists) so if those seven are on I have proof I loved them) guesses of books that might make the Bailey’s Prize for Women longlist next Tuesday…


The Kindness of Enemies – Leila Aboulela (W&N)
A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson (Transworld)
Devotion – Ros Barber (OneWorld)
Spill Simmer Falter Wither – Sara Baume (William Heinemann)


The Trouble with Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon (Borough Press)
At Hawthorne Time – Melissa Harrison (Bloomsbury)
Mr Splitfoot – Samantha Hunt (Corsair)
Fishnet – Kirstin Innes (Freight)


The World Without Us – Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury)
Things We Have in Common – Tasha Kavanagh (Canongate)
Hot Milk – Deborah Levy (Penguin)
Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh (Vintage)


Signs for Lost Children – Sarah Moss (Granta)
Girl at War – Sara Novic (Little Brown)
The Little Red Chairs – Edna O’Brien (Faber & Faber)
Under The Udala Trees – Chinelo Okparanta (Granta)


Martin John – Anakana Schofield (And Other Stories)
If You Look For Me, I Am Not Here – Sarayu Srivatsa (Bluemoose Books)
Gold Flame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins (Quercus)
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (Picador)

So those are my guesses, I daren’t even call any of them predictions for fear of jinxing them. Any I have read are in italics and those I have reviewed have links to the review. Do go and have a look at Eric’s, I will be as I haven’t seen it yet, over on LonesomeReader and most importantly let me know what you think of this list and which books you are hoping will make the longlist when it is announced next week. After all the effort that has gone into that I need a Baileys, though as this goes live (thanks to the genius of scheduling) I will be sat at my desk, so best not.


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21 responses to “Guessing The Baileys Women’s Prize Longlist & Introducing The Bailey’s Bearded Book Club

  1. I’ve only read one of these, and I have one other in the virtual TBR. An awful lot of the rest of them are on my wishlist though! Have fun & I look forward to hearing about the books that do end up on the longlist.

  2. Good to see ‘If You Look For Me, I Am Not Here,’ by Sarayu Srivatsa, on your list Simon. Cheers, Kevin. Bluemoose Books

  3. David

    Crikey, is it that time again already? I’ve only read four of your guesses – I agree completely with ‘A Little Life’ and ‘A God in Ruins’, but I found ‘At Hawthorn Time’ a bit pedestrian. ‘Martin John’ I think is brilliant for about two thirds of its length though it runs out of steam towards the end, but deserves to be longlisted for its daring and ambition. One I definitely think should be on the longlist is Elizabeth Strout’s ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ which is just a beautiful piece of writing, and may be her best book to date.

  4. I haven’t read any of these. There are some great sounding titles – bad for my tbr! And I’m liking the sound of the Bearded Book Club!

  5. I’ve only read Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees, looking forward to some new titles on the list to explore, I love the long list, so many great gems to choose from! Love the sounded of the Bearded Baileys Bobcasts, I mean Podcasts!

  6. I have read 5 of your “guesses” – A God in Ruins, A Little Life, Things We Have in Common, Fishnet and Eileen which I finished today – and would love to see all of them on the list. I’ll be very surprised if Atkinson and Yanagihara miss out this year.

  7. sharkell

    Four books a week – gosh – you’d better be hoping you have read at least half if them ☺. I haven’t read any of the books you have chosen but I did get a copy of A Little Life for Christmas and I have a few of your titles on my wish list. Good luck with it all.

  8. i’ll give a vote for Edna O’Brien, quite a remarkable novel. Girl at War I tried but gave up on only a little way in

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