Books

Bernardine Evaristo and Hilary Mantel among finalists for $52K Women's Prize for Fiction

Now in its 25th year, the £30,000 prize recognizes the year's best novel written by a woman in English.
Bernardine Evaristo and Hilary Mantel are among the finalists for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction. (Jennie Scott, Els Zweerink)

Bernardine Evaristo and Hilary Mantel have been shortlisted for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction.

Evaristo and Mantel are contending with their novels Girl, Woman, Other and The Mirror and the Light, respectively.

Now in its 25th year, the £30,000 (approx. $52,382 Cdn) prize recognizes the year's best novel written by a woman in English.

The 2020 finalists were selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Martha Lane Fox and made up of Scarlett Curtis, Melanie Eusebe, Viv Groskop and Paula Hawkins.

The judges whittled down the 16-book longlist to a shortlist of just six novels.

Evaristo's novel Girl, Woman, Other tells the interconnected stories of 12 characters, many of whom are black British women. Each chapter is dedicated to one character and the set of issues and choices they face in their lives.

The novel was a co-winner, along with The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, for the 2019 Man Booker Prize.

Mantel's historical novel The Mirror and the Light, the final instalment in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy chronicling the life of the minister in the court of King Henry VIII, released in March 2020.

"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," Lane Fox said, in a release.

"Choosing the shortlist was tough – we went slowly and carefully and passions ran high – just as you would want in such a process. But we are all so proud of these books – all readers will find solace if they pick one up."

There are no Canadians on the shortlist this year.

The full shortlist below.

The shortlist was announced as a special online event on the Women's Prize for Fiction through social media by Lane Fox.

The winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction will be announced on Sept. 9, 2020. The announcement was postponed in light of the COVID-19

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