The 2021 Women’s Prize longlist honours both new and well-established writers and a range of genres and themes – family (twins and siblings, mother-daughter relationships); motherhood; rural poverty and isolation; addiction; identity and belonging; race and class; grief and happiness; coming-of-age and later life. The novels span a range of different global settings, from South London to Deep South; Ghana, Hong Kong, Barbados, Brooklyn and a fantasy realm.
Founded in 1996, it’s one of the UK’s most prestigious literary awards, showcasing the remarkable originality, accessibility and excellence of novels written by women from around the world. So the longlist offers an exciting opportunity to discover a range of ambitious and outstanding literature.
The 16 books on the longlist – novels written by women and published in the UK between 01 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 – were selected by a panel of five judges: Bernardine Evaristo (chair of the judges), novelist; Elizabeth Day, podcaster, author and journalist; Vick Hope, TV and radio presenter, journalist and writer; Nesrine Malik, print columnist and writer; and Sarah-Jane Mee, news presenter and broadcaster.
Included on the list are six dazzling debut novels, as well as a previously longlisted author and a former winner and two-time shortlist, Ali Smith.
In turns razor-sharp, provocative and precise, Consent is a blistering novel of sisters and their knotty relationships, of predatory men and sexual power, of retribution and the thrilling possibilities of revenge.
The eagerly awaited, life-affirming and moving Sunday Times Bestseller from Dawn French. A remarkably poignant story perfect for every Dawn French fan, told with her signature humour, warmth and so much love.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.
This is a love story and a story about betrayal, picking the slippery cords of memory and myth that bind two women together, and hold them apart.