To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’m sharing with you my favourite books from the ones that I read and were shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction since the beginning of the award. Its aim is to “change the world through books by women”. A lot of change is needed indeed as, for example, young women and girls are being poisoned in Iranian schools, rape is being used as a weapon of war in Ukraine, the practice of female genital mutilation continues, and the majority of poor people in the world are women.
Although the longlist for this year’s edition was announced yesterday, I’m focusing on previous shortlists instead, because I don’t tend to read many brand-new releases and, thus, don’t have anything particularly interesting to say about the books featured in it.
In 2020, Maggie O’Farrell’s novel Hamnet did not only made it to the shortlist, but also won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Set in the 16th century, it delves into grief, parenthood and love through a fictional story about the death of the son of William Shakespeare, whose name is never mentioned. Despite this being the tale of a family, the focus is mainly on Agnes, his wife. The emotions conveyed feel incredibly real, which makes the book touching and affecting. Plus, the musicality of the prose and the detail with which the actions of the characters are described make for an enthralling reading experience. Continue reading