The Women’s Prize shortlist of 2019 was one of our favourites for years. Kate Williams, the chair of judges, has revealed that the panel deliberated for four hours to choose a winner. The eventual winner, Tayari Jones for her fourth novel An American Marriage, said “I think, in these times, we need women’s voices more than ever,” and we could not agree more.
Our money was on Madeleine Miller’s Circe, which regular readers know we were bowled over by last month. We felt that Miller’s scholarly classicism combined with her hyper-engaging prose style would once again prove a hit with the judges (her first novel, The Song of Achilles won what was then called the Orange Prize in 2012).
We also thought Pat Barker was in with a shout for Silence of the Girls, her 14th novel, which similarly offered a feminist slant on a Homeric epic.