The 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist has been released, and we are thrilled that Yewande Omotoso and Ayobami Adebayo are on it. Omotoso is there for her third novel, The Woman Next Door, while Adebayo’s Stay with Me ensures that she is one of only three debut novelists selected.
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly known as the Orange Prize, is one of the most prestigious literary prizes and is open to only women. Aside from its 30,000 pounds prize-money, winning it is an automatic career-changer.
The Guardian explains that a novel that might only sell 2,000 copies could sell 500,000 if it wins the Baileys women’s prize for fiction or the Man Booker prize. And it has also been publicized that the Baileys Prize winners outsell winners of the Booker. In 2004, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie became the first African to be shortlisted, for her debut Purple Hibiscus. She went on to win in 2007 for Half of a Yellow Sun, after which Americanah then made the 2014 shortlist. Since then, Scottish-Sierra Leonian writer Aminata Forna, Nigeria’s Lola Shoneyin, and Canadian-Ghanaian writer Esi Edugyan have been nominated.
Omotoso’s The Woman Next Door is being raved about for its exploration of aging and friendship within the context of South Africa’s changing racial landscape.
Adebayo’s Stay with Me is a riveting domestic fiction about the break-down of the relationship between a husband and wife.
Congrats to Omotoso and Adebayo. We are sending good vibes their way and hoping that they make the shortlist.