These Six Books Have Made It Onto The 2019 Women’s Fiction Prize Shortlist

How many have already made it onto your bedside table reading pile?

Women's prize 2019 shortlist

by Sofia Tindall |

Picking summer reads that are interesting, poignant and leave you transfixed to the last page (as you gradually burn to a crisp - remember the SPF!) can be a tricky business. We've all experience the waiting-lounge dash to WH Smiths, browsing the bookshelves and thinking how much easier it would be if we could mind-scan for the books worth reading in those few precious days where scrolling on your phone is going to be prohibited by data allowances.

But wonder no more: because every year the Women's Fiction Prize does the job of delivering us incredible titles, not only from new and rising authors but that also honor amazing women in fiction (what more could you need?) and the real clincher? It's just in time for summer-holiday season. 2019 has been no different, as an incredible longlist was announced earlier this year featuring the likes of virally-successful author Sally Rooney, newcomers like Yvonne Battle-Felton and Akwaeke Emezi and critically-acclaimed Circe by Madeline Miller.

The shortlist for the prize has been announced today, featuring gripping titles that you won't want to miss before you jump on a plane or car for a stay-cation (and they're well worth taking up the extra hand luggage allowance, we promise). With the six picks for this years list, sticking to your holiday digital-detox while absorbing some incredible women's fiction at the same time has never been so easy...

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2019 Women's Fiction Prize Shortlist

2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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Don't worry if the last time you encountered the Iliad was at school (guilty) The Silence of The Girls is a retelling of the Homer's epic poem in true Pat Barker style, lending a voice to the wronged and abused women in the tale. The women's perspective centralizes the experiences of loss, slavery and horror the female characters endure making for a gripping read.

2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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Was Killing Eve an obsession? this novel about the complicated interplay between two women, one of whom is a compelling yet compulsive serial killer may just be the thing for you. Organised and efficient, Korede is more concerned her sister will steal her boyfriend than kill him, while her beautiful and chaotic sister Ayoola is convinced she can get away with offing prospective dates. Set against the backdrop of Lagos in Nigeria Braithwaite's novel will have you glued from the first page.

2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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Set in Northern Ireland during 'The Troubles' in the 1970s, an 18-year-old woman finds herself the recipient unwanted sexual attention from a senior parliamentary figure (Milkman) who she is then accused of having an affair with. Amongst a tangle of sinister threats to kill her boyfriend, Milkman eventually dismantles her sense of identity. In addition to Milkman having already won the Man Booker Prize, Anna Burns novel also set in the Irish 'Troubles', No Bones, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002.

2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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Diana Evans Ordinary People dissects the state of marriage after the excitement dies, but this is one suburban drama which won't feel even a little bit like others that have come before. Set in 2008 against Barack Obama's presidency win and seen through the eyes of a collective of middle class mixed-race identity couples, Ordinary People faces the relentlessly modern issues encountered in modern marriages.

2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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Jones's Oprah-approved fourth novel - An American Marriage follows the journey of a marriage obliterated by the wrongful conviction of a rape. Celestial's husband, Roy is sent to prison but returns when acquitted. An American Marriage explores the effect the wrongful conviction has on their marriage and the struggle to recover it in the aftermath.

2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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This feminist re-working of a Greek Myth by Madeline Miller is told from the perspective of a Nymph (the Circe named in the title). While traditionally a symbol of prescribed femininity, Miller's central Circe turns the classical Nymph trope it's head by being, herself, ungainly, rebellious and prone to conjuring leering drunk men into pigs and navigating single motherhood. In doing so, Miller's Circe becomes a parable for modern feminism.

And if you've already worked your way through the shortlist, here are all the books that made it into the longlist this year...

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2019 Women's Fiction Prize Longlist - Grazia
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The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Don't worry if the last time you encountered the Iliad was at school (guilty) The Silence of The Girls is a retelling of the Homer's epic poem in true Pat Barker style, lending a voice to the wronged and abused women in the tale. The women's perspective centralizes the experiences of loss, slavery and horror the female characters endure making for a gripping read.

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