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The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017

The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2017 has been announced, and there are some amazing books and authors listed.

We were promised 12 books but have been given 16, which just goes to show how good the past 12 months have been for women writers.

Making the list is Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, which has to be one of the most popular books of last year; it seems to have been everywhere. Great that it gets recognition here too.

Margaret Atwood, Eimear McBride, Annie Proulx, and Linda Grant are also on the longlist, as is Naomi Alderman, for her novel The Power.

Here’s the list in full:

  • Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo
  • The Power, Naomi Alderman
  • Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood
  • Little Deaths, Emma Flint
  • The Mare, Mary Gaitskill
  • The Dark Circle, Linda Grant
  • The Lesser Bohemians, Eimear McBride
  • Midwinter, Fiona Melrose
  • The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan
  • The Woman Next Door, Yewande Omotoso
  • The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O’Neill
  • The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry
  • Barkskins, Annie Proulx
  • First Love, Gwendoline Riley
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien
  • The Gustav Sonata, Rose Tremain

As the Bailey’s Prize for Fiction celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world, it’s great that today’s announcement coincides with International Women’s Day 2017.

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Friday read: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is a book I seem to know a lot about without having actually read it.

Like many people, I know the opening line, ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’ I know about some of the characters. Mrs Danvers springs to mind. I’m aware of its popularity and focus on the gothic, but I’ve never actually read it.

That’s about to change. Rebecca is one of the set texts on my twentieth century literature module. I’ve made a start reading it today.

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Weekly update: 15th January 2017

Finishing my assignment on 1930s poetry took most of the past week. I managed to fit studying in between work and running training, and really enjoyed writing the essay, even though I found it hard.

It’s always a great feeling to hand an assignment in. That’s three down and four to go before I finally finish my degree in English Literature. After six years, the end is in sight – almost.

I started reading Fell by Jenn Ashworth. I’ve only read a few chapters but know this is going to be a great book. I’m hooked.

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I also started reading Unfuck your habitat by Rachel Hoffman.

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Chris found it hilarious that I’ve bought a book about tidying up. But he’ll not be laughing for long. I’ve only read the prologue and already I’ve taken something on board. Cleaning, so the book says, should not be done marathon style. It should be done little and often. I’ve always been in the marathon camp, but since reading the first few pages, I’ve changed my habits. I’ve been doing little things daily, and I’m hopeful that these little changes will have a BIG impact. I will keep you posted.

The books I ordered arrived, so I’m looking forward to reading them. They will be featured on the Mumsnet book club during 2017, which is where I discovered them.

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In my own writing, I’ve done very little this week because of the assignment. I continued working on a short story during my lunch break at work, but apart from that, there wasn’t time. This does frustrate me, especially when I have deadlines coming up, but it couldn’t be helped. I’ll make up for it next week.

We’ve been watching Silent Witness and Sherlock. Every time I watch Silent Witness I’m fascinated with the script and how it is written. I’d love to get into scriptwriting. I have no idea how to do this, and probably don’t have time, but when have I ever let that stop me!

In other news, I took part in a local 5,000m track race, finishing first female, and wrote a blog about it on http://www.championrunning.co.uk. I also had a makeup and hair trial for my wedding, so that was exciting.

This week, I have three long days at work, including a coaching and mentoring two-day training course. I have, however, booked a day’s annual leave on Friday, so will be setting time aside for reading and writing then.

Have a good week.

Liz x

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Weekly update: 8th January, 2017

Hope you’ve had a good start to the new year.

I’ve been working on an assignment for my Open University course on twentieth century literature. The focus of the essay is 1930s poetry, so I have been reading Poetry of the Thirties from Auden to Spender, edited by Robin Skelton. I’ve also been reading the relevant chapters in the course book, which asks the question What is literature for?

The debate is around aestheticism and instrumentalism. Aestheticism being the art for art’s sake argument, whereas instrumentalism is literature with a social, political or moral purpose. It’s a fascinating module, and my head is now full of ideas to develop for an essay.

The only problem is that I have to narrow the choice down to only four poems, and decide what my main argument will be. That is tonight’s difficult job.

In the evenings, I’ve been reading Happiness Like Water short stories by Chinelo Okparanta.

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I’ve also been catching up Continue reading

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My first book of the year

Happy New Year!

In 2016 I didn’t read enough books, so this year I’m making it a priority. Specifically I want to read more short stories and more African literature. My first book of the year is both.

Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta.

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‘In these exquisite stories, Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future. Here, we meet a childless couple with very different desires, a college professor comforting a troubled student, a mother seeking refuge from an abusive husband, and a young woman waiting to join her lover abroad. High expectations consume them. Nigeria defines them.’

Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She was one of Granta’s New Voices for 2012 and her writing has appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and The Kenyan Review. 

I’m looking forward to getting started. Review to follow.

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Weekly update 12-18 December

With only one week to go until Christmas I decided it was probably best to start my shopping. So, on Saturday, Chris and I spent the afternoon and evening hunting for presents in Meadowhall, also known as Meadowhell, or Murderhall, depending on how you feel.

Waterstone’s was the first stop. I love buying books for my friends and family. I’m not sure if they like receiving them year after year, for Christmas and birthdays and Mother’s Day and any other celebration, but they should.

Time wasn’t on our side, so instead of spending ages browsing the shelves, I was in and out in about 20 minutes. It was a record. My basket was full of books for other people (good choices too), but I couldn’t Continue reading

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Introducing Tuesday intro

I’ve decided to link up with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the beginning of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.

I’ve been reading other people’s Tuesday posts for ages, and this morning I was struck with some inspiration. Why not do my own post! Who would have thought it.

So, drumroll please, today I am officially joining in. And what’s even more exciting is that today I’m also starting a new book. I couldn’t have timed it better. I’ve just finished Zadie Smith’s NW, so have been trying to decide what to read next.

But what to read next? Decisions. Decisions.

On the way home from work last night (long journey stuck in traffic), Simon Mayo was talking about the latest book club choice for BBC Radio 2. He said it was one of the best books they’d featured (something like that anyway. I was driving), so I thought I would give it a go. The book is called Continue reading