The shortlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced.
Half of this year’s list is made up of debut novelists, who appear alongside previous Women’s Prize-winning and shortlisted authors.
Missing from the shortlist is Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, who was longlisted for her novel Glory.
The 2023 shortlist includes novels set in the former Yugoslavia, Jamaica and the Indian Ocean, as well as Italy, Virginia and Ireland. The writers themselves are predominantly British: four of the list are British—although Jacqueline Crooks was born in Jamaica—alongside one American and one Irish author.
Debuts novelists Crooks, Louise Kennedy and Priscilla Morris are up against previous winners Maggie O’Farrell, who won in 2020 for Hamnet, and Barbara Kingsolver, who won in 2010 for The Lacuna. Laline Paull was previously shortlisted in 2015 for her novel The Bees.
The Women’s Prize, worth £30,000 (about R660,700) is one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary awards, given annually to a woman author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year.
Now in its twenty-eighth year, the Women’s Prize for Fiction ‘shines a spotlight on outstanding, ambitious, original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world’.
Chair of judges Louise Minchin said:
‘This is an exquisite set of ambitious, diverse, thoughtful, hard-hitting and emotionally engaging novels. A glittering showcase of the power of women’s writing. My fellow judges and I feel it has been a huge privilege to read these novels, and we are delighted to be part of their journey, bringing them to the attention of more readers from across the world.’
2023 Women’s Prize shortlist
- Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
- Pod by Laline Paull
- Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
- Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
- The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
- Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Minchin is joined on this year’s judging panel by novelist Rachel Joyce; journalist, podcaster and writer Bella Mackie; novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie; and Tulip Siddiq, Member of Parliament.
The winner of this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on Wednesday, 14 June 2023.
Last year’s Women’s Prize winner was American–Canadian author, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki, for her fourth novel The Book of Form and Emptiness.