Some 92 days ago twelve longlisted titles were announced. Then whittled down to a final shortlist of six, revealed with great excitement 36 days ago. Reading hundreds of books, the panel of five judges must have turned down countless social engagements, and drunk thousands of cups of tea, cappuccinos and glasses of wine between them. There have been six literary events hosted to date – attended by throngs of curious guests keen to champion books by women. And not forgetting four episodes of the brand new Women’s Prize for Fiction podcast broadcast. But now here we are – it’s time to announce the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, and we’re pretty excited. Thanks to the generous people at the Women’s Prize for Fiction, we’ve got three sets of all six of the shortlisted books to give away – and you could WIN one of them! But first, let’s take a look at what’s made the cut this year…
The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker
Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story? Discover the greatest Greek myth of all – retold by the witness history forgot.
My Sister The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…
Milkman – Anna Burns
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Ordinary People – Diana Evans
Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning. Melissa has a new baby and doesn’t want to let it change her. Damian has lost his father and intends not to let it get to him. Michael is still in love with Melissa but can’t quite get close enough to her to stay faithful. Stephanie just wants to live a normal, happy life on the commuter belt with Damian and their three children but his bereavement is getting in the way Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love.
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. Until one day they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. When Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns home ready to resume their life together. A masterpiece of storytelling, An American Marriage offers a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three unforgettable characters who are at once bound together and separated by forces beyond their control.
Circe – Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
SO HOW CAN YOU WIN one of three sets of shortlisted Women’s Prize for Fiction titles? Follow Reading in Heels on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – like the photo post and a book-loving friend in the comments – AND don’t forget to retweet/share the post hashtagged with #womensprize. The competition closes on June 5th at midnught – when you can expect the 2019 winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction to be celebrating her win! UK entrants only.