Launched in 1996, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000.
The judges for 2014 are Helen Fraser, Caitlin Moran, Sophie Raworth, Mary Beard, and Denise Mina.
The Baileys Women’s Prize longlist in full:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah
Margaret Atwood - MaddAddam
Suzanne Berne – The Dogs of Littlefiel
Fatima Bhutto - The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
Claire Cameron – The Bear
Lea Carpenter - Eleven Days
M.J. Carter - The Strangler Vine
Eleanor Catton - The Luminaries
Deborah Kay Davies - Reasons She Goes to the Woods
Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All Things
Hannah Kent - Burial Rites
Rachel Kushner - The Flamethrowers
Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland
Audrey Magee - The Undertaking
Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing
Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English
Anna Quindlen - Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Elizabeth Strout - The Burgess Boys
Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch
Evie Wyld - All The Birds, Singing
Previous Winners Include:
May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes (2013)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012)
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (2011)
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (2010)
Home by Marilynne Robinson (2009)
The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2008)
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007)
On Beauty by Zadie Smith (2006)
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2005)
There aren’t many authors (who actually sell books) who can get away without plotting. Best-selling authors, like Stephen King, who say they don’t plot, don’t realise that they actually do it without realising it. They have an innate plotting talent. They just need less help than the rest of us.
I have noticed that even talented literary authors, who obviously don’t plot, have a shorter shelf life, and fewer readers, than writers who do plot. My greatest wish as a reader is that more literary writers would learn to plot. Can you imagine the incredible books we would have to read? There are some literary authors who do this. Kate Atkinson writes beautifully, and her books have plots.
Is there a difference between a commercial and a literary plot?
What is a literary plot? Generally, literary plots are full of isolated characters without a clear goal. They are slow and full of ambiguities. The author concentrates on the inner journeys of the characters and their psychological setbacks. The endings are often inconclusive and they mostly don’t end happily. The bottom line There are fewer book sales and the author makes less money, unless he or she wins a literary prize.
What is a commercial plot? Generally, commercial plots are driven by characters with a well-defined story goal. There is lots of action and the author deals with the interior and exterior worlds of the characters. There are physical and emotional setbacks. The endings generally suit the genre of the story. The bottom line More of these books are sold and the author makes more money. There is no chance of winning a literary prize.
I think the way forward for modern writers is to marry the two.
If you write literary fiction, spend some time on plotting and add some pace.
If you write commercial fiction, make your characters more complex and add small twists to the endings of your stories.
“It was one of those ridiculous arrangements that couples make when they are separating, but before they are divorced - when they still imagine that children and property can be shared with more magnanimity than recrimination.”— John Irving
How to get your reader to identify with an unsympathetic character
Getting the audience to sit in the cheering section for a hero is easy—all you need is a brave, idealistic, upstanding, and highly functional character as the star of your story. But getting them to identify with the antagonist, unlikeable protagonist or anti-hero takes a lot more skill. You want the audience to feel sad for this character, or empathy or even just pity.