The Women’s Prize for Fiction – the greatest international celebration of women’s creativity – today (26 April) unveiled its 2023 shortlist.
Half of this year’s list – described as ‘ambitious, eclectic and hard-hitting’ – is made up of first-time novelists. Debuts by Louise Kennedy, Jacqueline Crooks and Priscilla Morris appear alongside novels by international bestselling writers Maggie O’Farrell and Barbara Kingsolver, both of whom have previously won this prestigious Prize. Former Women’s Prize shortlistee Laline Paull is also selected for the second time.
Now in its twenty-eighth year, the Prize champions women writing in English on a global stage, celebrating the very best writing by women for everyone.
- Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
- Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
- Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
- Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris
- The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
- Pod by Laline Paull
Although the 2023 shortlist offers globe-spanning settings – from former Yugoslavia, Jamaica and the Indian Ocean, to Italy, Virginia and Ireland – the writers themselves are predominantly British: four of the list are British alongside one American and one Irish author.
Whilst three of the novels capture turbulent, pivotal moments in modern history – The Troubles in Northern Ireland (1975) in Trespasses, the Southall Riots (1979) in Fire Rush, and the Siege of Sarajevo (1992–96) in Black Butterflies – the shortlist also features a story set in de Medici’s court in sixteenth century Florence. There are timely, contemporary settings too: the modern opioid crisis in America in Demon Copperhead, and the ocean world against the backdrop of environmental disaster in Pod.
The diverse selection is unified by several overlapping themes, including civil unrest; the warring realms of the personal and the political; the solace of art and creativity; and doomed love.
Download the Women’s Prize for Fiction reading guides for the shortlisted books.
This year’s shortlist has been selected by the Chair of Judges Louise Minchin and she is joined on the panel by novelist Rachel Joyce; journalist, podcaster and writer Bella Mackie; novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie; and Tulip Siddiq, Member of Parliament.
Chair of judges and author Louise Minchin, says:
‘This is an exquisite set of ambitious, diverse, thoughtful, hard-hitting and emotionally engaging novels. A glittering showcase of the power of women’s writing. My fellow judges and I feel it has been a huge privilege to read these novels, and we are delighted to be part of their journey, bringing them to the attention of more readers from across the world.’
The 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be awarded on Wednesday 14 June 2023 at the Women’s Prize Trust’s Summer Party in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. More information can be found on the Women’s Prize for Fiction website here.
Are you in a reading group? Check out the Women’s Prize for Fiction reading guides for the shortlisted books.
If you work in a library or workplace and would like to promote the prize, you can download a free digital pack from our shop.
What do you think of the 2023 shortlisted titles? Which have you read and what will be added to your TBR pile? Add your comments below, or click any title above to leave a review.
Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WomensPrize.
Keep up with all the latest news on the Women’s Prize website.
Want to make sure you never miss the latest reading group news? Sign up for our free monthly newsletter.