Meet your new booklist: The Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction longlist

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Francesca Brown
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The 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction longlist has just been announced - so which ones should you be reading? Here, Stylist’s contributing books editor Francesca Brown takes a look at the final 16...

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀

This is one of the must-reads books of the year so far: Stay With Me has it all, including big themes of love, grief and jealousy, a fantastic female protagonist plus it reads like a page-turning thriller. Indulge now.

£13.48, buy now

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Imagine a world where girls are physically more powerful than boys - and then started to abuse it… Like a feminist World War Z, Alderman’s The Power has been one of the most talked about books of the past year, and with very good reason.

£9.09, buy now

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

A retelling of The Tempest by one of the most revered writers on the planet: it’s mischievous, clever and ultimately gut-punching.  

£11.89, buy now

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

This thriller set in 60s New York has divided readers but is an ultimately very clever take on the stereotype of the femme fatale. It’s beautifully written with an ending that’s simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting. (Plus, Flint is a Geordie, which gets my extra vote.)

£9.09, buy now

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill

A dark and emotional examination of the needs of motherhood - and the pressure that can place on a child - Gaitskill’s book can be a tricky read, but it’s well worth your time.

£14.99, buy now

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

Teenage twins are sent to a TB sanatorium in 1949 and the scene is set for a micro look at the clashing arrival of the Fifties. This might not sound the most riveting of scenarios, but never underestimate how good Grant is.

£13.49, buy now

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

McBride previously won the Baileys Prize for her debut, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, in 2014 and The Lesser Bohemians could get her the double.

The tale of a girl at drama school in the late Nineties distills how it feels to be in love, to discover sex and to find yourself. It’s astonishing and will still be hailed as a classic 100 years from now.

£13.49, buy now

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

Centering on a father-son pair of Suffolk farmers, this book is unlike anything else around now in its exploration of working-class masculinity, grief and escape. It could be a breakout contender.

£13.49, buy now

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

A horse racing epic with dense and, at times, impenetrable prose: this is one of those books that divides readers into lovers and haters, but makes you glad that writer Morgan doesn’t hold anything back.

£16.99, buy now

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

Two Cape Town neighbours - Hortensia and Marion - are at loggerheads and yet… have more in common than they initially think. A joyful read and, if you’re wondering where to start with the longlist, we recommend this one.

£12.99, buy now

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914 then separated as teenagers before becoming sucked into the city’s underworld. This is a beautiful and haunting read that could well make the shortlist.

£16.99, buy now

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry is on a serious roll: there’s nothing The Essex Serpent can’t do and if you haven’t read it - where have you been? And also, lucky you, because you’ve got one heck of a book to read.

£14.99, buy now

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Another divisive (and doorstop) of a book, Proulx’s Barkskins starts in the late seventeenth century as two penniless young Frenchmen, René and Charles, arrive in New France then follow the lives of their ancestors over 300 years.

£14.99, buy now

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

Remember Riley’s name because she is set for very big things. 

First Love is, like The Lesser Bohemians, a book that somehow manages to capture the things we do to each other in the name of love.

£12.99, buy now

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Big, bold, ambitious and written with utter conviction: this is the story of China in the 20th century and it is all consuming. Book out some time and enjoy.

£12.99, buy now

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Tremain is a powerhouse and her 14th book examines the friendship between two boys, Gustav and Anton, who grow up together informed by both the people around them and their sadnesses.

£6.99, buy now


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Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown is books editor for Stylist magazine and Stylist Loves; she also compiles the Style List on a weekly basis. She is a self-confessed HBO abuser and has a wide selection of grey sweatshirts. Honestly, you just can’t have enough. @franabouttown