“Stay with me”, Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel has made the shortlist for The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Announcing the Shortlist, Film producer Tessa Ross, who is the chair of this year’s judges, said it had been “quite a challenge” to whittle the longlist of 16 books down to six. “From Kentucky in the 19th Century to a dystopian future, to a post-war sanatorium in the English countryside to 1980s Nigeria, the shortlist celebrates narratives that are daring and intimate, that examine the depth of human experience in unique and compelling ways,” she said.
“We were both impressed and moved by memorable characters from a young woman fleeing her home in China to a writer coming to terms with her failing marriage. The novel, Stay with me, is set against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria. First published in Africa by Kwani?, it explores marriage and motherhood and the turbulences of childlessness in a traditional Yoruba society.
The shortlist which was described by the judges as “daring and intimate” features five other authors, including a previous winner, Linda Grant whose second fictional novel, When I Lived in Modern Times won the prize in 2000.
The Six shortlisted books are:
Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien (Canadian)
The Power – Naomi Alderman (British)
First Love – Gwendoline Riley (British)
The Sport of Kings – CE Morgan (American)
The Dark Circle – Linda Grant (British)
Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo (Nigerian)
The Brailey Women’s Prize for Fiction which was formally called The Orange Prize is awarded annually to what judges consider the best novel of the year written in English by a female author. It was co-founded by author Kate Mosse, who believed female authors were often overlooked for major literary prizes .Previous winners of the prize, which has been running since 1996, include Zadie Smith, Ali Smith, Lionel Shriver and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Orange sponsored the award for 17 years before Baileys took over in 2014. The winning author receives £30,000 in prize money, and will be announced at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 7 June.
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