Bernadine Evaristo and Hilary Mantel up for Women’s Prize for Fiction


Bernadine Evaristo and Hilary MantelImage copyright
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Bernadine Evaristo (left) and Hilary Mantel

The final book in Dame Hilary Mantel’s celebrated trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Dame Hilary’s The Mirror & the Light is up against Bernadine Evaristo’s Booker Prize-winning Girl, Woman, Other.

Angie Cruz, Maggie O’Farrell, Natalie Haynes and Jenny Offill are also nominated for the £30,000 prize.

But there is no room for Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, which shared the 2019 Booker Prize with Evaristo.

In the running

  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz – explores the immigrant experience through 15-year-old Ana, who marries a man twice her age to enable her family to move to the US
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – follows the lives and struggles of 12 mainly black British women across different generations and classes
  • A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes – the classicist retells the story of the Trojan war from an all-female perspective
  • The Mirror and the Light by Dame Hilary Mantel – the final book in the trilogy about the rise and fall of Henry VIII’s close advisor
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell – a fictionalised account of the life of Shakespeare’s only son, who died when he was just 11
  • Weather by Jenny Offill – a family drama that brings climate change anxiety to the fore

The winner is due to be announced on 9 September at an award ceremony in London. The ceremony was originally due to take place on 3 June, but has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, who chaired the judging panel, said: “We are all living in challenging, sad and complex times so incredible stories provide hope, a moment of escape and a point of connection now more than ever.”

The award is in its 25th year and was formerly known as the Orange Prize and Baileys Prize. Past winners include Eimear McBride, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith and Andrea Levy.

To be eligible for the 2020 prize, the book must have been written in English by a woman and published in the UK between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.

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