In keeping with my latest feelings of annoyance about how few women’s books make it to the pages of The New York Review of Books and etc. – check http://www.vidaweb.org/ if you want to be truly appalled by the disproportion of mens to women’s writing in all sorts of high-falutin’ journals (one editor snarkily muttered that women “don’t read the kind of books we review”), I include this list.
I plan to read them all. I hate to say that there are different writing styles based on gender, but there often are. That’s not to say I don’t love male writing – right now I am spending far too much time sniggering at “Blood Relatives” by Craig Frances Power – but I feel a need for solidarity at present.
Maybe it’s Women’s Day. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of struggling with my own writing and need some female inspiration. Maybe it’s because many of my favourite writers, who write the most truthful fiction, are women.
In any case, here’s the list. Let’s mob the libraries and the reviews and the world with these books and make them sing loud.
London, 08 March 2012: The Orange Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, today announces the 2012 longlist. Now in its seventeenth year, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing throughout the world. The announcement coincides with International Women’s Day 2012.
Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (Quercus) – Swedish; 1st Novel
On the Floor by Aifric Campbell (Serpent’s Tail) – Irish; 3rd Novel
The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (The Clerkenwell Press) – American; 4th Novel
The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (Picador) – Irish; 7th Novel
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail) – Canadian; 2nd Novel
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) – Irish; 5th Novel
The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki (Headline Review) – British; 5th Novel
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (Quercus) – American; 4th Novel
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (Bloomsbury) – British; 3rd Novel
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Faber & Faber) – British; 2nd Novel
The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) – British; 2nd Novel
The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape) – British; 6th Novel
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker) – American; 1st Novel
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) – American; 1st Novel
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Books) – American; 7th Novel
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury) – American; 6th Novel
There but for the by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) – British; 5th Novel
The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard (Alma Books) – British; 2nd Novel
Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (Chatto & Windus) – British; 1st Novel
The Submission by Amy Waldman (William Heinemann) – American; 1st Novel