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The longlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction was chosen, including works from Anne Enright and Isabella Hammad.
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The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction was chosen, including works from Anne Enright and Isabella Hammad.

Anne Enright, Kate Grenville and Isabella Hammad are among the writers longlisted for this year’s Women’s prize for fiction.

50% of the 16 nominated titles on the longlist are from debut authors. Chetna Maroo, a British author who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, has been selected for her first novel Western Lane, which delves into topics of grief, sisterhood, and sports. Maya Binyam, an American writer, has earned a spot on the list for her book Hangman, which tells the story of a man returning to his home country to be with his terminally ill brother.

Monica Ali, author and leader of the judging committee, praised these books as exceptional, creative, and impossible to pause reading. Together, they present a diverse selection of captivating stories from different parts of the globe, crafted with liveliness, cleverness, fervor, and empathy.

Three writers from Ireland are included in this year’s list: Enright, Megan Nolan, and Claire Kilroy. Enright has been a finalist for the award two times before and has now been longlisted for the fifth time for her book, The Wren, The Wren. Nolan’s second novel, Ordinary Human Failings, made the list and explores the story of a family dealing with a child accused of murder. Kilroy’s book Soldier Sailor also made the longlist and was praised by judge and actor Indira Varma for its depiction of the challenges of being a first-time mother.

Hammad, a writer from Britain and Palestine, was nominated for his book “Enter Ghost” which tells the story of a production of Hamlet in the West Bank. According to Ali, the book is “deeply nuanced and subtle” and remains relevant even a decade or two later. “Enter Ghost” was one of the titles selected, along with “Hangman”, “Nightbloom” by Peace Adzo Medie, and “River East, River West” by Aube Rey Lescure, all of which explore the themes of migration and immigration. Ali adds that this is not surprising, as these are deeply important and debated issues in our current times.

Ali and Varma, along with author Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, author and illustrator Laura Dockrill, and presenter and author Anna Whitehouse, formed the judging panel. Ali expressed her excitement about being a part of a book club for the first time and having the opportunity to discuss literature with a group of intelligent women.

Varma announced that Grenville, the previous winner of the Women’s prize (previously known as the Orange prize) in 2001 for her novel The Idea of Perfection, has been included in the longlist for her latest work, Restless Dolly Maunder. According to Varma, the novel is set in the 1880s in rural Australia and centers around Dolly’s aspirations for a more fulfilling life than the one she has been presented with.

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VV Ganeshananthan, previously nominated for the 2009 award for her book Love Marriage, has been selected for this year’s prize for Brotherless Night. The novel is set against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war. Whitehouse praised the book, stating, “It is a visceral, historical, and emotional read, spanning 300 pages. A must-read for all.”

The following titles have been added to the longlist: In Defence of the Act by Effie Black, And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott, The Maiden by Kate Foster, 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster by Mirinae Lee, The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord, and A Trace of Sun by Pam Williams.

On April 24th, a selection of six titles will be shared and the ultimate winner will be revealed on June 13th, alongside the recipient of the first-ever Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction. The victorious writer will be awarded a check for £30,000 and a “Bessie” bronze statue, crafted by artist Grizel Niven.

Some of the most recent recipients of the award are Ruth Ozeki, who was recognized for her book The Book of Form & Emptiness, Susanna Clarke for Piranesi, and Maggie O’Farrell for Hamnet. In the previous year, Barbara Kingsolver was the recipient for Demon Copperhead, which was also a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.

Source: theguardian.com