The Bailey’s Prize Shortlist


It’s finally here! Today the winner of the 2017 Bailey’s Prize will be announced and I don’t envy the judges having to make such a tough decision.

This is the first time that I’ve read the entire shortlist for a prize and I really enjoyed the experience. I decided to read an entire shortlist as part of my goal to expand my reading more and as one personal goal is to read more books written by women, the Bailey’s Prize made perfect sense.

So! What are the books shortlisted and what did I think of them all?


The Power by Naomi Alderman was the final book I read as I was unable to get a copy from my library for quite a while. However, it seems I saved the best for last as I adored it. This is definitely my pick for the winner!

Read my review of it here.


First Love by Gwendoline Riley was one of the first few I read due to the fact it’s a very slim novel and doesn’t take long to read. However, as brilliant as the writing is for this book, I found it rather distressing to read at some points due to how realistic the portrayal of an abusive relationship was. Of course, my discomfort is a sign of how powerful her prose is and so even though it was my least favourite, I could still recognise this as a very strong book.

Read my review of it here.


Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien is a multi-generational story of two families from China following them through the civil war up to the present day. The history of China is shown through the characters who live through it and it is very educational for those who do not know much about Chinese history. I feel I learnt a lot from this novel and was constantly hooked wanting to find out the next section of each character’s story.

Read my review of it here.


Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ was the first of the shortlist that I read due to receiving an ARC of it earlier in the year. At the time I read it, I adored it and found it a very powerful story and so I was not at all surprised to see that it had made the shortlist. If this won, I wouldn’t be surprised at all and until I read The Power, this was definitely my favourite to win.

Read my review of it here.


The Dark Circle by Linda Grant is a novel that from the blurb, did not appeal to me at all. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the story and although it is very slow paced, it has delightful characters that I was more than happy to read about in great detail and I thoroughly enjoyed both their journey and the portrayal of sanitariums during the period of their decline.

Read my review of it here.


The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan was the largest of all the shortlist and so I put it off for a while due to it’s daunting size. I found the beginning rather slow as I was not invested in any of the characters and I’m not a fan of this type of novel. However, as I read further I became more attached and although I have no interest in horse racing or breeding, I was able to enjoy the narrative and the beautiful writing. I am ultimately glad I read it, and although I can recognise why it was nominated, it just was not something I personally enjoy.

Read my review of it here.



That’s all the books! The winner will be announced tonight and I’m very excited to see who it is. I also definitely plan on repeating this next year with the 2018 shortlist, and might even attempt to read the longlist if I have enough time.

Have you read any of the novels shortlisted? What did you think? What was your favourite and what book do you think will win?

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