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Women's Prize For Fiction 2023 Shortlist

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Women's Prize For Fiction 2023 Shortlist

Women's Prize For Fiction 2023


The Women's Prize for Fiction is the greatest international celebration of women's creativity. Now in its twenty-eighth year, the Prize champions women writing in English on a global stage, celebrating the very best writing by women for everyone. This year's shortlist offers globe-spanning settings - from former Yugoslavia, Jamaica and the Indian Ocean, to Italy, Virginia and Ireland. The diverse selection is unified by several overlapping themes, including civil unrest; the warring realms of the personal and the political; the solace of art and creativity; and doomed love.

Jacqueline Crooks

Fire Rush

Publisher: Jonathan Cape, Vintage, Penguin Random House.

A debut about dub, reggae, love, loss and freedom, Fire Rush is a state-of-the-nation novel that paints an unforgettable portrait of Black womanhood.

Yamaye lives for the weekend when she can go raving with her friends at the Crypt, an underground club in the industrial town on the outskirts of London where she was born and raised. A young woman unsure of her future, the sound is her guide – a chance to discover who she really is in the rhythms of those smoke-filled nights. In the dance-hall darkness, dub is the music of her soul, her friendships, and her ancestry.

'Fire Rush is a brilliant celebration of Black womanhood. It's a story about dub reggae, friendships, love and loss, which spans London, Bristol and Jamaica.' Irenosen Okojie

Louise Kennedy


Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing.

Set during The Troubles, Trespasses is a novel about the lives of ordinary people, where the political invades the personal, and love is never far away from violence.

There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family. But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever.

'Trespasses is a novel set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. It is ostensibly a love affair, but it also weaves in community and religion and politics. It is a deftly woven novel, which will astonish you.' Bella Mackie

Barbara Kingsolver

Demon Copperhead

Publisher: Faber&Faber.

Reimagining Dickens’ David Copperfield for modern times, Demon Copperhead is an epic tale of love, loss and everything in between.

Demon’s story begins with his traumatic birth to a single mother in a single-wide trailer, looking ‘like a little blue prizefighter’. For the life ahead of him, he would need all of that fighting spirit, along with buckets of charm, a quick wit, and some unexpected talents, legal and otherwise.

'Demon Copperhead is a reworking of Dickens’ David Copperfield. It's a story of a young boy who is destined to live a life with nothing and who, despite all the odds, rises above it.' Rachel Joyce

Priscilla Morris

Black Butterflies

Publisher: Duckworth Books.

Published to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo, Black Butterflies captures life inside this historic event.

Sarajevo, spring 1992. Each night, nationalist gangs erect barricades, splitting the diverse city into ethnic enclaves; each morning, the residents – whether Muslim, Croat or Serb – push the makeshift barriers aside.

'Black Butterflies is a beautifully written book set against the backdrop of the Siege of Sarajevo; it’s about love and loss, and where your home truly is.' Tulip Siddiq

Maggie O'Farrell

The Marriage Portrait

Publisher: Tinder Press, Headline.

A historical retelling of a young bride left out of the pages of history and the perils that met her in her short-lived marriage.

Florence, the 1560s. Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de' Medici, is free to wander the palazzo at will, wondering at its treasures and observing its clandestine workings. But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d'Este, heir to the Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: Alfonso is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father to accept on her behalf.

'The Marriage Portrait is an exquisite book. It takes you to a world that you won't have lived in. It explores extraordinary themes of bravery, of pure evil,
and I absolutely loved it.' Louise Minchin

Laline Paull


Publisher: Corsair, Little Brown Group.

Pod takes us into the ocean, and into the world of its fascinating inhabitants, through the eyes of the beautiful Ea, a Longi dolphin.

Ea has always felt like an outsider. As a spinner dolphin who has recently come of age, she’s now expected to join in the elaborate rituals that unite her pod. But Ea suffers from a type of deafness that means she just can't seem to master spinning. When catastrophe befalls her family, and Ea knows she is partly to blame, she decides to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave the pod.

'Pod is about a spinner dolphin who takes great risks to save her pod. It speaks to climate change and is also a wonderful celebration of family.' Irenosen Okojie

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