The shortlist for the Baileys women's prize for fiction [formerly the Orange Prize] has just been announced and, astonishingly, it includes two Irish writers but no British!
The two Irish writers are Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, a book I have been championing for some time, and Audrey Magee for The Undertaking which I reviewed on 21 February. The other four on the shortlist are the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for her third novel, Americanah, who won the Orange Prize before with Half of a Yellow Sun; and then, three American authors, Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch, Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland and, first time author, Hannah Kent for Burial Rites.
Hard one to call! My money as usual is on McBride but the bookies favour Adichie and Tartt. The critics are well divided on Tartt's novel calling it variously a 'heavyweight masterpiece' and 'a turkey'!
The winner will be announced on 4 June.