Final Thoughts + Winner Prediction for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Hello readers!

In two days we will finally find out the winner of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction! I am less excited than I was a few months ago because honestly it’s been A While – the longlist was announced back in March, the shortlist in April and then after almost five months my enthusiasm has dampened a bit. But still I love seeing other people’s guesses on who the winner will be and as the day of the winner announcement approaches, I’m sure I will get more excited!

So, since it’s been so long, here a quick recap…

The longlist was an interesting mix of commercial titles, big names on the literary world and exciting debuts. Although I wished there had been a lot more diversity and challenging, unique titles, it was still a pretty solid list that actually had me excited to pick up most of the books. It was also fantastic to see a trans author get longlisted (with THE most vibrant, characters-coming-off-the-page novel in the whole bunch); even if they made the poor choice of also including Craig’s book, considering her very outspoken transphobic opinions. Here is the full list, with the shortlisted books marked in bold.

  • Because of You by Dawn French
  • Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
  • Consent by Annabel Lyon
  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
  • Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
  • How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
  • Luster by Raven Leilani
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
  • Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • Summer by Ali Smith
  • The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

I ended up reading 9 of the books, including all 6 shortlisted titles. I have some of the unread titles still on my radar because I might actually pick them up eventually – Nothing But Blue Sky is really high on that list!

Below is my personal rating of the books, in order of which I think personally has most merit to win the prize; so, not necessarily those I liked best (I enjoyed Exciting Times a lot more than Unsettled Ground, for example, but I think UG has more merit to it in terms of theme, writing style and the story itself).

  1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  2. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  3. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  4. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
  5. Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
  6. Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
  7. How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
  8. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
  9. Luster by Raven Leilani
  10. Did not read: Because of You by Dawn French
  11. Did not read: Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
  12. Did not read: Consent by Annabel Lyon
  13. Did not read: Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  14. Did not read: Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  15. Did not read: Summer by Ali Smith
  16. Did not read: The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig

I really, really enjoyed some of these titles more than I thought I would – Transcendent Kingdom and How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House were two surprises for me – and I will be happy if any of the shortlisted books win the prize…. well, maybe except for No One is Talking About This, which was really not for me. This was a very interesting title because it got such divided opinions amongst readers, but it was just not my cup of tea; it read like an endless, exhausting Twitter thread and as someone who feels saturated with Twitter lately, it was not a great experience to read this. The book does have its merits so I guess I won’t be too mad if it wins.

My guess for the winner is…

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

Well, obviously, from my list before. This is the book that gave me strongest winner vibes from the start (I know, vibing is truly a great method for guessing the winner), and now after reading the entire shortlist I feel confident that it has a solid chance of winning! All the other books are brilliant additions in their own ways, even if they didn’t all work for me personally. I look forward to the winner announcement and I need to start thinking about what books might show up on next year’s list!


All my posts about the WP 2021:

6 thoughts on “Final Thoughts + Winner Prediction for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

  1. I’ve only read a couple of these but I have read The Vanishing Half and I think it’s a solid prediction for winner. It balances that literary and commercial success and seems to be the one that got the most buzz this past year.

    Liked by 2 people

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