Highlights from our 2017 shortlist readings

Last night, in the gorgeous surroundings of Cadogan Hall, the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlisted authors gathered together to read from and discuss their nominated books in the week of the winner’s announcement (revealed on the 7th June).
The evening, attended by an audience of 900, was hosted by Baileys Prize co-founder bestselling novelist Kate Mosse and this year’s Chair of Judges Tessa Ross.

Tessa introduced this year’s brilliant shortlisted authors and spoke a little about her experiences of judging the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, praising the shortlist, particularly the books’ resonance and relevance.

Then, the audience was treated to a wonderful reading from Ayobami Adebayo of her Baileys Prize shortlisted novel Stay With Me, including a small segment of (very beautiful!) singing.

Next up, the brilliant Naomi Alderman took to the lectern to read from The Power, her electrifying novel dubbed ‘The Handmaid’s Tale in reverse.’ Following her reading, Naomi mused on the nature of power, commenting: ‘Power does not have to corrupt everyone for the results to be absolutely devastating.’ She also confided in the audience that while writing The Power, she ‘wrote 2,000 words of this novel, then I threw it away’, before starting again from scratch.

We were then given a reading from Linda Grant’s wonderful shortlisted novel The Dark Circle, spanning the birth of the NHS in post-war 1950’s Britain.

Next up, we had the incredible BAFTA-nominated actress Anna Chancellor take to the stage to read from The Sport of Kings, standing in for C. E. Morgan who sadly couldn’t be with us.

Gwendoline Riley then read to us from her brilliant shortlisted novel First Love. She also comments, of her writing process: ‘I find with all of my work, I spend 50% of the time getting the first chapter right, then I’m off.’


Next up, a beautiful reading from Madeleine Thien from her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Afterwards, when quizzed on how she writes, she said: ‘the book is itself and you’re just listening to it.’

But who will win? The 2017 Baileys prize winner will be announced tomorrow night at 7.30pm. Tell us your favourites (and your predictions!) on Twitter and Instagram.

The Women's Prize Podcast

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