To coincide with International Women’s Day, the judges of the this year’s Orange Prize (the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman) have announced their longlist:

  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (Quercus) – Swedish; 1st Novel
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell (Serpent’s Tail) – Irish; 3rd Novel
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (The Clerkenwell Press) – American; 4th Novel
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (Picador) – Irish; 7th Novel
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail) – Canadian; 2nd Novel
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) – Irish; 5th Novel
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki (Headline Review) – British; 5th Novel
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (Quercus) – American; 4th Novel
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (Bloomsbury) – British; 3rd Novel
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Faber & Faber) – British; 2nd Novel
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) – British; 2nd Novel
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape) – British; 6th Novel
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker) – American; 1st Novel
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) – American; 1st Novel
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Books) – American; 7th Novel
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury) – American; 6th Novel
  • There but for the by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) – British; 5th Novel
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard (Alma Books) – British; 2nd Novel
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (Chatto & Windus) – British; 1st Novel
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman (William Heinemann) – American; 1st Novel

Wow, look at all those historical novels (the Guardian has some commentary on this). It strikes me as a very story-focused list. If some organisation bundled the whole lot for sale as ebooks, I bet they’d make some serious money. Just saying.

The shortlist will be announced on 17 April, the winner 29 May.

FYI, today, International Women’s Day, is the 30th anniversary of my band’s very first performance. Writing songs is what led me to writing fiction, which is what led to me to writing this blog. All very circular and satisfying. Here, for your delectation and delight (uh-huh), is a fourteen-minute video of the fresh-faced Janes Plane (three of us were 21 or younger but, oh, we thought we were so worldly…) talking about what it took to make music in a man’s world:

I’m not entirely sure how much has changed.