Coinciding with International Women's Day, The Bailey's Prize For Fiction longlist was announced on Tuesday.
The eagerly-anticipated prize, now in its 20th year, was established to celebrate and promote international fiction by women to the widest range of readers possible.
Awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman, any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.
This year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers; over half the longlist is occupied by first novels alongside four previously shortlisted authors. Seven nationalities are represented including the first Zimbabwean author to be longlisted for the Prize.
Known from 1996 to 2012 as the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Women's Prize for Fiction was privately supported in 2013. In June 2013, the prize announced a three-year partnership with Baileys, which was extended in 2016.
The winner will receive a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in The Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall on 8 June 2016.
Judges for this year are Margaret Mountford (chair), lawyer and businesswoman; Naga Munchetty, broadcast journalist; Laurie Penny, writer and journalist; Elif Shafak, author; Tracey Thorn, writer and singer.
Previous winners include – Ali Smith for How to be Both (2015), Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (2014), A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven (2013), Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles (2012), Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (2010), Marilynne Robinson for Home (2009), Rose Tremain for The Road Home (2008), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004), Valerie Martin for Property (2003), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (2002), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), Linda Grant for When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), Suzanne Berne for A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999), Carol Shields for Larry’s Party (1998), Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997), and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).
The 2016 Baileys prize longlist
God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson (UK)
Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett (Australia)
Ruby by Cynthia Bond (US)
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (Australia/US)
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (US)
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton (UK)
Whispering Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliot (UK)
The Green Road by Anne Enright (Ireland)
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe)
Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy (UK/Serbia)
The Anatomist’s Dream by Clio Gray (UK)
At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison (UK)
Pleasantville by Attica Locke (US)
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (Ireland)
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (US)
Girl at War by Sara Nović (US)
The House on the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester (UK)
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (UK)
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (US)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (US)