Written by Sophie Wyatt
The annual Women’s Prize for Fiction award have announced their short list for 2021. Competing for a £30,000 prize are a group of female authors that have never been nominated for the prize before, among them writers such as Yaa Gyasi, Clare Fuller and Britt Bennett.
The annual award focuses on championing novels that are ‘outstanding, ambitious and original’. On this years judging panel are award winning author and chair Berandine Evaristo, podcaster and author Elizabeth Day, Radio 1 presenter Vick Hope, Sky News presenter Sarah Jane Mee and journalist Nesrine Malik. The judges are looking for a number of qualities in their chosen novels, focus on the talented writing, regardless of age, race, nationality or background.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
American author Brit Bennett’s second novel ‘The Vanishing Half’ intertwines multiple issues and emotions into the lives of two sisters. Diving into race and identity, the novel explores the lives of twins living in fictional Louisiana town, Mallard. While one sister grows up to live with her black daughter in a town she once tried to escape, her twin goes on to pass for white and goes on marry a white man that knows nothing of her past. But what will happen when their own daughters lives eventually intersect?
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Susanna Clarke’s supernatural ‘Piranesi’ explores magic, but not as we know it. Clarke’s magic is not the kind you can command from a wand, but rather the kind that is interwoven into our reality. Main character Piranesi takes us along as he lives in a world where words for items exist but not the items themselves. The characters detailed journals his life and his time with a man he calls ‘The Other’. But as he starts to notice inconsistencies in both ‘The Other’s statements and his own journals, Piranesi starts to question the magical world he lives in.
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
Using her novel ‘Unsettled Ground’ to boldly address poverty and country living, Claire Fuller embraces the thrill of hope and resilience. Twins Jeanie and Julius are still living with their mother at the ripe age of 51. Growing up in rural isolation meant that the twins lives were far from generic norms. But after their mother dies, the pair are forced into a world they are not accustomed to, as they start the fight to hold on to their livelihood and beings.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Built around the story of a family of Ghanaian immigrants, Yaa Gyasi’s deeply moving novel ‘Transcendent Kingdom’ explores depression, addiction and loss. After her father and brother succumb to the dangerous temptations, Gifty’s family of four became a family of two. But as she grows and starts to learn the tangled history of her families struggles, we also discovers more about the dark reality of life for immigrants in the American South.
How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
Intense and powerful, Cherie Jones debut novel explores an eclectic range of emotions. Set on a beach in Barbados, ‘How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House’ tells the story of the interconnected lives of people from different races, ages and walks of life. Desperation, greed, sadness, happiness and love are amongst the storylines in this commanding novel.
No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
Patricia Lockwood’s much anticipated debut novel ‘No One Is Talking About This’, takes you on a journey into the world of the social media-sphere. The story follows a woman known for her viral social media posts. Adored by fans and followers alike, she tries to route her way through the internet, or ‘the portal’ as she refers to it, as well as normal life. The novel delves into the ridiculous nature of social media, the toll is takes on real life and where ‘the portal’ will end, if ever.