Thrillers, love lost and treasures found are the order of the day, with the release of the shortlist for the 2016 Bailey’s Prize for Fiction.
Announced at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Monday 11 April, with novelist and award co-founder, Kate Mosse hosting, the shortlist features six books, comprising three debut novels and one previously shortlisted author.
The award, now in its 21 year, was set up to celebrate international fiction by women and is the UK’s only annual book prize for fiction written by women. It celebrates ‘excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world.’
Any woman writing in English is eligible for entry, and the prize is a cheque of £30,000.
Previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith’s On Beauty (2006), and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005).
This year, the ceremony will be held at the Royal festival Hall on 8 June.
Come take a look at this year’s shortlist - and get set to refresh your bookshelf with some sparkling new reads:
Cynthia Bond, Ruby
Ruby is the debut novel from Cynthia Bond, an American author who has taught writing to the homeless in LA for over 15 years.
The story follows Ephram Jennings, who dreams of a beautiful girl from his youth. Ruby left her home town, fleeing from violence to seek the glamour of 1950s New York but, years later, aged 30, she must return home, and Ephram is forced to choose between his sister, and Ruby, the woman he has always loved.
Anne Enright, The Green Road
This is Enright’s sixth novel, and tells the story of the children of Rosaleen Madigan, who leave west Ireland for new lives in Dublin, New York and some third-world towns. When their mother decides to sell their family home, the children return for a final Christmas to relive their childhoods.
Lisa McInerney, The Glorious Heresies
Another debut novel, The Glorious Heresies follows how a messy murder affects the lives of five outsiders in Ireland: Ryan, a 15-year-old drug dealer, Georgie, a prostitute, Maureen, the accidental murderer, and Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up.
Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen
An anti-consumerist positive force and amateur translator of Norwegian, Veblen believes that the grey squirrel following her around understands exactly what is going on. Veblen’s fiancé, Paul, is a neuroscientist with no time for squirrels and is working closely with seductress, Cloris Hutmacher, an heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire who promises him fame.
Hannah Rothschild, The Improbability of Love
The debut novel from director and writer, Hannah Rothschild, The Improbability of Love tells the story of lovelorn Annie McDee, who discovers an old painting which turns out to be a lost 18th Century masterpiece. McDee is thrust into the world of auctioneers and Russian oligarchs, keen to get their hands on the painting – entitled The Improbability of Love.
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
When four classmates from masachusetts move to New York, all they have to keep them afloat is their friendship. Over the decades, their relationships become darker, tainted by success and pride. Eventually they all realise that one of the group – Jude- is the real challenge they all have to face up to.