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Yaa Gyasi and Claire Fuller shortlisted for Women’s Prize 2021

Transcendent Kingdom and Unsettled Ground among the six books shortlisted for one of literature's most prestigious awards.

A flatlay of Penguin books shortlisted for the women's prize
Books shortlisted for the 2021 Women's Prize. Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Claire Fuller and Yaa Gyasi are among the authors shortlisted for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction with their novels, Unsettled Ground and Transcendent Kingdom - both of whom make their debut on the shortlist.

Fuller's fourth novel depicts the lives of middle-aged twins Jeanie and Julius, who are left bereaved and orphaned after the death of their mother, Dot, without whom their remote and rural life is uncertain. 

In Transcendent Kingdom, meanwhile, Gyasi examines the US opioid crisis through her unreliable narrator Gifty, who struggles to balance her allegiance to both science and religion while caring for her mentally ill mother. The novel is Gyasi's second; her first, Homegoing, was a bestseller in 2016.

Bernardine Evaristo, chair of judges for the prize, said that the award recognised an “outstanding, ambitious, original”, and that the shortlist featured stories about “lives you haven’t read about before." 

"We did want to champion books that introduced the reader to little-told stories. These three books are about marginalised communities, and they are very fresh because of that,” said the Girl, Woman, Other author. “Unsettled Ground really digs deep into rural England and people who are left behind by the system. And Gyasi tells of a Ghanaian family in the deep south and how they struggle to cope when their lives are torn asunder – it’s another forgotten community.”

The winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction will be revealed on 7 July.

The 2021 Women’s prize shortlist

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue)

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree)

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Viking)

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (Headline)

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury)

Read more about the shortlisted authors:

Interview: What inspires Yaa Gyasi
What I'm Reading: Claire Fuller

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