The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2021

Previously: February Wrap-Up| Coming Soon: March TBR

Last Wednesday the Longlist for the Women’s Prize 2021 was announced. Unsurprisingly I have not read a single book off the list but will try to remedy that in the coming weeks. My reading of the longlist always depends on library availability so I won’t waste time promising to read X amount of books. Today I am going to take you through the list with my one-sentence description of the books. Please do bear in mind that I haven’t read any of them so these descriptions come from my interpretation of the blurbs alone.

Two stacks of books making up the Women's Prize Longlist.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
From the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke brings us a fantastical story of Piranesi’s labyrinthian house and The Other who lives there.

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
Blurring the line between contemporary and fantasy this book looks at our obsession with social media through a woman who uses ‘The Portal’ to combat her loneliness and becomes a viral sensation.

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, Avni Doshi examines the relationship of a daughter caring for her ailing mother, who never cared for her.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi


A young woman learns the truth of her family’s journey from their native Ghana to the American South, as she searches to understand her brother’s opioid addiction.

Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
Irish writer Kathleen MacMahon looks at the relationship between husband and wife, and how much you ever truly know another person.

Summer by Ali Smith
In the final book of her Seasonal Quartet, Ali Smith tackles current issues, including pandemic, as she asks how change affects us all.

Luster by Raven Leilani
This darkly comic novel follows a young black woman as she embarks on a relationship with a married man in an open marriage.

Because of You by Dawn French
From comedian and actress Dawn French, two very different pregnant women go into hospital, and only one comes out with a baby.

Small Pleasures by Claire Chambers
Set in the 1950s, and featured on BBC2’s Under the Covers, this book follows a journalist and a woman who claims that her child is the result of an immaculate conception.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
Debut author Cherie Jones explores the rising tensions between rich ex-pats and locals through four characters against the backdrop of Barbados.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Inspired by Nella Larson’s Passing, Brit Bennett examines the relationship between twin sisters from a Southern black community, one of whom leaves and passes for white.

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Own-voices and debut author Torrey Peters, looks at the complicated relationship between three individuals amidst the topics of pregnancy and detransitioning.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
An Irish millennial living in Hong-Kong finds herself torn between a witty British Banker and an ambitious Hong-Kong born lawyer, as she struggles to find her happiness.

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
With their home both a fortress and their sanctuary, a set of twins find their world thrown into turmoil upon the sudden death of their mother.

Consent by Annabel Lyon
Annabel Lyon examines the relationship between twin sister after a serious injury and compares them to another set of sisters who also rely on one another, and the implications of the role of the caregiver.

The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
In the vein of Strangers on a Train, two women arrange to murder for one another, a plan which is thrown into confusion when one woman meets her supposed victim.

***

If these descriptions have whetted tour whistle, and you want to know more, you can see the full list here, with all the links to hear more about each longlisted book.

All of these books are currently available from the usual places but don’t forget to support your local libraries and bookshops where possible.

9 thoughts on “The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2021

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