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Bailey’s shortlist for women’s fiction

The shortlist for the UK Women’s Prize for Fiction (once called the Orange Prize but now sponsored by Bailey’s) has been revealed. Eimear McBride, Hannah Kent and Audrey Magee are all contenders with their debut novels. Donna Tartt and Jhumpa Lahiri are the big names, while Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie continues to enhance her reputation.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (signed copies)
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (signed copies)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (signed copies)
The Undertaking by Audrey Magee (signed copies)
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (signed copies)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (signed copies)

The Guardian reports that Tartt, that lady with the Louise Brooks-style bob, is the bookies’ favourite even though Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s third novel, has already won America’s National Book Critics Circle award.

Tartt’s bestselling novel – loved by some critics and hated by others – explores a wide variety of themes including antiques, gambling and drug abuse. It took more than 10 years to write.

Helen Fraser, the chair of judges, said that it was possible to almost pair off the books on this year’s shortlist. The Goldfinch and McBride’s book centre on disastrous childhoods; Lahiri and Adichie explore themes of exile and identity; and Magee and Kent’s are historical novels, the first set in wartime Berlin and Stalingrad, and the latter in 19th-century rural Iceland.

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