40 Great Fiction Books by Women

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My first 20 books are from the Baileys Short List for Women’s Fiction 2016


Kate Atkinson: A God in Ruins

Shirley Barrett: Rush Oh!

Cynthia Bond: Ruby

Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord

Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Jackie Copleton: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding

Rachel Elliott: Whispers Through a Megaphone

Anne Enright: The Green Road

Petina Gappah: The Book of Memory

Vesna Goldsworthy: Gorsky

Clio Gray: The Anatomist’s Dream

Melissa Harrison: At Hawthorn Time

Attica Locke: Pleasantville

Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies

Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen

231 Gr Rd coverSara Nović: Girl at War

Julia Rochester: The House at the Edge of the World

Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love

Elizabeth Strout: My Name is Lucy Barton

Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life

The longlist of 20 books was announced on 8th March.

The shortlist will be revealed on 11th April.

The winner will be announced on 8th June.


The second short list is of the previous winners of the women’s fiction prize.

160 How to be both

Ali Smith: How to be Both (2015)

Eimear McBride: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (2014)

A.M. Homes: May We Be Forgiven (2013)

Madeline Miller: The Song of Achilles (2012)

Téa Obreht: The Tiger’s Wife (2011)

Barbara Kingsolver: The Lacuna (2010)

Marilynne Robinson: Home (2009)

Rose Tremain: The Road Home (2008)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun (2007)

Zadie Smith: On Beauty (2006)

Lionel Shriver: We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005)

Andrea Levy: Small Island (2004)

Valerie Martin: Property (2003)

Ann Patchett: Bel Canto (2002)

Kate Grenville: The Idea of Perfection (2001)

Linda Grant: When I Lived in Modern Times (2000)

Suzanne Berne: A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999)

Carol Shields: Larry’s Party (1998)

Anne Michaels: Fugitive Pieces (1997)

Helen Dunmore: A Spell of Winter (1996)


Do you have any view on previous winners or this year’s longlist?


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Filed under Books, Reading

6 Responses to 40 Great Fiction Books by Women

  1. Marianne Coleman

    Thanks for this Caroline.

    I am failing to update my rather old kindle at the moment and it will no longer download books after 22 March unless I succeed, so I have an alternative plan. That is to download books before that date so I have a ready made library. So this list is a welcome prompt for choosing future reads. I wish I was a bit more technologically proficient though.

    • Caroline

      Hi Marianne. You would have a great library if you downloaded even 1/4 of these books. Good luck with the update. I have to find a dedicated hour to do that kind of thing. I find the language of the instructions defeats me sometimes.
      Xx Caroline

  2. Eileen

    I love lists
    I love lists of books
    I love lists of really good books
    I love ticking off the books I have read
    I love selecting and buying more books
    I love reading books when I have the time to sit down and enjoy them.
    Thanks a lot. This will keep me going for a while.

    • Caroline

      I once made a list of all the different lists I had going. It was a sobering experience, but I still have lots.
      I must love ’em too.
      C xx

  3. Eileen

    I make lists of things that I have already done so I can then tick them off. Sad!
    I think I have read most of your posts now – so I can tick that off. It has been an interesting experience catching up – so much to read and so little time.
    BTW, Mike and Nina know Jackie Kay’s Dad really well from their Communist Party days – small world.

    • Caroline

      Thanks again for all your comments.
      I’m looking forward to reading Jackie Kay’s autobiography. She’s such a witty writer. Great performer too.

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