Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: The End

The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 will be announced this evening! This is a short summary post. My round-up of the whole longlist can be found here.

The book I want to win


The book I think will win


(though I’m 50/50 with Girl, Woman, Other, this is who I’d bet on if I was asked to bet).

The book I least want to win


My overall ranking of the shortlist, with links to my reviews

  1. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  2. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  3. Weather by Jenny Offill
  4. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  5. Dominicana by Angie Cruz
  6. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

Who do you think will win the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020? And who do you want to win?

Update: And the winner is…


Called it! I predicted this result because:

  • The Mirror and The Light is probably going to win the Booker, and Girl, Woman, Other has already won the Booker, so the Women’s Prize want a book they can call their own, especially after Hamnet didn’t make the Booker longlist.
  • I didn’t see any of the other three books on the shortlist as plausible options, even though I personally liked Weather a lot more than this one.
  • Hamnet is timely (plague!) and allows the Women’s Prize to make up for having unfairly neglected Maggie O’Farrell all these years.

My feelings: chuffed that I guessed right, sad that O’Farrell has won for what I think is one of the weakest of her novels, pleased that she has been recognised as she’s generally a writer I rate, and baffled that (even given the political considerations above) that anyone could think this is better than The Mirror and the Light.

19 thoughts on “Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: The End

  1. I was baffled that A Thousand Ships was listed, considering we’ve had SO MANY Greek retellings already, but I have to say Dominicana is on my “the one I want least to win” and I was so upset reading it that I dreamt it actually won the WP! Hahaha I hope GWO wins but would not be too upset about the Mantel, which was my favorite read from this list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t a fan of Dominicana, but A Thousand Ships managed to tick off so many of my particular literary hates, AND I was already tired of Greek retellings! This book definitely does not need to exist when we have Barker’s The Silence of the Girls.


    • As you know, I’m disappointed in this year’s longlist/shortlist. The two most worthy winners are GWO and The Mirror and the Light, but given that one has already won the Booker and the other is likely to win it, it’s hard to get hugely excited about either of them as a winner of this prize. I wish they had put some better titles on the shortlist (How We Disappeared!) or indeed on the longlist.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i feel like its gonna be Hamnet – i really didnt like it but i think it has the appeal and the “literariness” to win the prize (plus the fact that ot wasnt on the Booker longlist surprised a lot of people so the Womens Prize may want to highlight it more bc of that.. )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, totally agree. I think the Woman’s Prize want a book that is ‘their own’, The Mirror and the Light and Girl, Woman, Other don’t fulfil that, and I really can’t see any of the other three winning. Plus, I think the WP feel bad for neglecting O’Farrell all these years, and the book (while not good, IMO!) is timely.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have long been interested in O’Farrell’s work, but haven’t gotten around to reading any more of it yet! That you rate this one as one of her weaker books makes me all the more excited to continue reading her stuff, especially given that I did enjoy Hamnet (though I can admit it’s flawed). Anyway, I’m definitely curious to see whether Mantel will take the third win for her Cromwell trilogy this year, and would agree the strong possibility probably contributed to her missing the win here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think O’Farrell is much better as a contemporary novelist than as a historical novelist. My other least favourite of her books is the only other one that’s totally historical (Instructions for a Heatwave). I’d recommend This Must Be the Place or The Hand That First Held Mine if you want to try her again!

      Liked by 1 person

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