Susanna Clarke tipped to win Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 – Shortlist sees huge surge in sales

Susanna Clarke tipped to win Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Shortlist sees huge surge in sales 

Susanna Clarke is the bookies’ favourite to win the £30,000 Women’s Prize for Fiction, with the latest odds from Coral placing Piranesi (Bloomsbury Publishing) at 5/2.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 8 September and Susanna Clarke is leading the way to win with her second novel, published sixteen years after Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Clarke’s debut novel was published in more than 34 countries and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. 

In second place, American novelist Brit Bennett has been given odds by Coral of 7/2, for her second novel, The Vanishing Half (Dialogue Books). Bennett’s debut novel The Mothers (2016) was a New York Times bestseller. The Vanishing Half has also been a New York Times bestseller and was selected as one of their ten best books of 2020. Bennett is one of the National Book Foundation’s 2016 ‘5 Under 35’ honorees.

At 4/1, American/ Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi is third favourite for Transcendent Kingdom (Viking). Gyasi’s first novel, Homegoing, was a Sunday Times bestseller and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best First Novel. In 2017 Yaa Gyasi was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists and in 2019 the BBC selected her debut as one of the 100 ‘Novels that Shaped Our World’.

Coral has British author Claire Fuller as fourth favourite at 5/1 for Unsettled Ground (Fig Tree), her fourth novel. Fuller has previously been longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award, shortlisted for the Encore Prize and Livre de Poche Prize, and won the Desmond Elliott Prize. Her books have been translated into more than 18 languages. 

Coming in at joint fifth place at 6/1 is Barbadian author Cherie Jones for How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House (Tinder Press) and American writer Patricia Lockwood for No One Is Talking About This (Bloomsbury Circus).

Jones has previously won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and has been awarded the Archie Markham Award and the A.M. Heath Prize. Lockwood is the author of two previous poetry collections and a critically acclaimed memoir, Priestdaddy, which was named one of the 10 best books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review. No One Is Talking About This has also been longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021. 

Since the shortlist was announced on 28 April 2021, the six shortlisted books have, according to Nielsen BookScan, sold 130,000 copies in the UK, taking £1.1m through the tills. The Vanishing Half, boosted by the release of the paperback edition in the week it was shortlisted, is the clear sales leader among the six titles in contention to win. It has sold 105,000 copies since it was shortlisted and is currently selling around 4,000 copies a week. Transcendent Kingdom and Piranesi have been the second and third most popular titles since the shortlist was announced, selling 6,200 and 6,100 copies respectively.

Sales of The Vanishing Half jumped 696% week on week following its shortlisting. Sales of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House jumped 428%, while sales of Unsettled Ground increased by 173%. Overall, the sales of the six shortlisted books increased by 320% in the week after the shortlist was announced. 

The Women’s Prize longlist saw a similar surge in sales after the longlist was announced on 10 March. The sixteen books have now gone on to sell over 412,000 copies in the UK, taking £3.1m.



Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury) – 5/2

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Dialogue) – 7/2

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Viking) – 4/1

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller (Fig Tree) – 5/1

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones (Headline) – 6/1

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury) – 6/1


Harry Aitkenhead, spokesperson for Coral, said:

“The shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has six contenders who all have a fantastic chance of winning, as our odds for the event suggest. None of the very deserving shortlisted novels are given odds of longer than 6/1, meaning we think all are in with a shout. Piranesi by Susannah Clarke, her second novel published sixteen years after her first, is however the narrow favourite in the market for who we think will win the Prize in 2021.”

Since being established in 1926, Coral has become one of the leading bookmakers in the United Kingdom with just under 2,000 shops across the UK and Ireland. 

Announced at a central London ceremony on Wednesday 8 September, the winner of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction will receive £30,000 (anonymously donated) and a limited edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

 Author photos, press releases, book jackets and other assets can be found here. 


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