In March, we announced the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist. This month, the prize that is now in its 25th year of running, announced its 2020 shortlist of books in a special online event via social media channels by the prize’s Founder Director Kate Mosse and the Chair of Judges, Martha Lane Fox.
Martha said: “We are all living in challenging, sad and complex times so incredible stories provide hope, a moment of escape and a point of connection now more than ever. Choosing the shortlist was tough – we went slowly and carefully and passions ran high – just as you would want in such a process. But we are all so proud of these books – all readers will find solace if they pick one up.”
Joining Martha Lane Fox on the judging panel this year are writer and activist Scarlett Curtis, writer and activist, Melanie Eusebe, co-founder of the Black British Business Awards, author and comedian Viv Groskop and Paula Hawkins, international bestselling author.
On Twitter, Scarlett Curtis shared to shortlist and added, “Hundreds of books, a few tears, so much love, so much awe for women’s writing, the most challenging job I’ve ever done… we have a @WomensPrize 2020 shortlist. I really hope you love these masterpieces as much as we did…”
So without further ado, here is the shortlist for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Dominicana – Angie Cruz Girl
“This is a debut novel, a story of a young girl sold, basically, into a marriage that’s abusive and difficult but she moves from her native home, Dominican Republic, to New York. It’s a story for now, it’s an important story, it’s told with vim, energy. It’s told with incredible freshness and we think you’ll love the way that she brings this incredibly important story to life.” – Martha Lane Fox.
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
“Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo is a fantastically original novel that redefines the British experience. It’s told across one hundred years of history, through the voices of telves women, all unforgettable. We love it.” – Viv Groskop.
A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes
“We absolutely love this book, it has all of the plot twists, all of the drama, all of the intrigue, and even though we know the ending, it’s still fresh, because it’s from the lens of the women in the story. If you’re looking for a summer read, if you’re looking for a story to get lost in, then this is the book for you.”– Melanie Eusebe.
The Mirror and the Light – Hilary Mantel
“The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel is a very big book, it’s about 900 pages long , but the reader is gripped from the very first page and the tension and the pace of the book do not let up and I think one of the many extraordinary things Mantel does is to maintain suspense though this story, even though most readers do actually know how it’s going to end.” – Paula Hawkins.
Hamnet – Maggie O’ Farrell
“It’s the story of Shakespeare’s personal life that really explores what it’s like to endure the grief of a lost child. It tells the inside story of his marriage, of his relationship with his children and it really shows you what it was like to live through the difficult personal trials that he had to endure. We all thought it was fantastic.” – Viv Groskop.
Weather – Jenny Offill
“Weather by Jenny Offill is such a brilliant, hilarious and incredible book, it’s not like anything I’ve ever read before. I think the best way to describe it is it’s about our fears about the environment and the world and the kind of constant information we’re getting from this 24-hour news cycle and social media and how that information intersects with our everyday fears and our everyday worries and the banality of our lives and the way we interact with our family and out friends and the people around us. It’s truly unlike anything else and it’s truly amazing.” – Scarlett Curtis.
These six books will now be whittled down to just one who will be crowned the winner of the 25th Women’s Prize for Fiction on the 9th of September. Until then. Keep your eyes peeled on the Women’s Prize social channels for a chance to win all six shortlisted books.