04 March 2019

Three writers from the Penguin Random House UK family of authors have been longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction; the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honouring women’s fiction. 

Much-loved Hamish Hamilton author Pat Barker makes the longlist with latest book The Silence of the Girls - a retelling of the classic Greek myth of Achilles retold by the witness that time forgot: Briseis, a queen until her city was destroyed and she was enslaved by Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Also shortlisted for the recent Costa Book Awards, The Silence of the Girls was described by The Guardian as ‘Mak[ing] you reflect on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, the women throughout history who have been told by men to forget their trauma... You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers.’ 

  • The Silence of the Girls

  • Shorlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Costa Novel Award

    Booker-winning novelist Pat Barker imagines the untold story of the women at the heart of history's greatest epic

    'Magnificent... You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers' Evening Standard

    'Chilling, powerful, audacious... A searing twist on The Iliad. Amid the recent slew of rewritings of the great Greek myths and classics, Barker's stands out for its forcefulness of purpose and earthy compassion' The Times

    'A stunning return to form' Observer

    There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan war whose voice has been silent - till now...

    Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story?

    Discover the greatest Greek myth of all - retold by the witness history forgot.

    'Make[s] you reflect on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, the women throughout history who have been told by men to forget their trauma... You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers' Evening Standard

    Praise for Pat Barker:

    'Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivation' Sunday Telegraph

    'She is not only a fine chronicler of war but of human nature' Independent

    'Barker is a writer of crispness and clarity and an unflinching seeker of the germ of what it means to be human' Herald

    'You go to her for plain truths, a driving storyline and a clear eye, steadily facing the history of our world' Guardian

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Bestselling writer, journalist and critic, Diana Evans, is nominated for her third novel, Ordinary People. An intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, love and ageing, the book offers a glimpse into the lives of two London couples at a point of reckoning. The Observer called it ‘a deftly observed, elegiac portrayal of modern marriage, and the private – often painful – quest for identity and fulfilment in all its various guises’.

  • Ordinary People

  • SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION AND THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE
    LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION

    'I am shouting from the rooftops to anyone who will listen about this book. It’s so so good – realistic and funny and so truthful it almost winded me' Dolly Alderton, The High Low

    Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning. Melissa has a new baby and doesn't want to let it change her. Damian has lost his father and intends not to let it get to him. Michael is still in love with Melissa but can't quite get close enough to her to stay faithful. Stephanie just wants to live a normal, happy life on the commuter belt with Damian and their three children but his bereavement is getting in the way.

    Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love.

    'I just finished Ordinary People by Diana Evans and it is utterly exquisite. What a writer she is - the depth of her insight, the grace of her sentences. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME NOT READING HER?'
    Elizabeth Day, Twitter

    ‘God this book is fantastic’ Pandora Sykes

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As one of 7 debut novellists to make the longlist, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott is included for Swan Song. A dazzling debut about the line between gossip and slander, self-creation and self-preservation, Swan Song is the tragic story of Truman Capote and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans. Meeting widespread critical acclaim, the book was described by the Sunday Times as ‘a dazzlingly assured first novel... This clever book, with the moreish astringency of a negroni, is a perfect summer cocktail’.

  • Swan Song

  • LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

    ‘The new Donna Tartt.’ Vogue

    'Brilliantly captures Capote’s acid wit and his dramatic downfall.' The Times, Books of the Year

    'A dazzlingly assured first novel... This clever book, with the moreish astringency of a negroni, is a perfect summer cocktail.' Sunday Times

    'A whirlwind of a first novel. There is great pathos in the Swans’ woundings and in their inevitable decline. And the character of Truman himself shimmers through the novel in a wonderful blaze of eccentricity and excess. Outstanding.' Rose Tremain
    ___________________________

    They told him everything.

    He told everyone else.

    Over countless martini-soaked Manhattan lunches, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears. On exclusive yachts sailing the Mediterranean, on private jets streaming towards Jamaica, on Yucatán beaches in secluded bays, they gossiped about sex, power, money, love and fame. They never imagined he would betray them so absolutely.

    In the autumn of 1975, after two decades of intimate friendships, Truman Capote detonated a literary grenade, forever rupturing the elite circle he’d worked so hard to infiltrate. Why did he do it, knowing what he stood to lose? Was it to punish them? To make them pay for their manners, money and celebrated names? Or did he simply refuse to believe that they could ever stop loving him? Whatever the motive, one thing remains indisputable: nine years after achieving wild success with In Cold Blood, Capote committed an act of professional and social suicide with his most lethal of weapons . . . Words.

    A dazzling debut about the line between gossip and slander, self-creation and self-preservation, SWAN SONG is the tragic story of the literary icon of his age and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans.

    ‘Writers write. And one can’t be surprised if they write what they know.’
    ______________________________

    'A completely fascinating novel and a marvellously skilful re-imagining of real people, times and places. Outstanding.' William Boyd

    'Scandalous, frenetic, amusing and tragic.' Daily Mail

    'Our generation’s The Secret History' Pendora

    'Brilliantly written, deeply researched, funny, sharp and moving.' Kate Williams, bestselling author of Josephine

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The full longlist for this year’s prize is available on the Women’s Prize for Fiction website.

The judges for the 2019 prize are Professor Kate Williams (Chair), journalist and writer Dolly Alderton, theatre critic Arifa Akbar, activist and psychotherapist Leyla Hussein, and digital entrepreneur Sarah Wood. The longlist will be whittled down to just six books over the next two months, with the shortlist announced on Monday 29th April.

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