Hilary Mantel tops women's fiction prize shortlist
British novelist Hilary Mantel's "Bring Up the Bodies" tale about Thomas Cromwell will take on five challengers in the Women's Prize for Fiction award in 2013 as she attempts to add to her groaning trophy cabinet.books Updated: Apr 18, 2013 13:20 IST
British novelist Hilary Mantel's "Bring Up the Bodies" tale about Thomas Cromwell will take on five challengers in the Women's Prize for Fiction award in 2013 as she attempts to add to her groaning trophy cabinet.
The historical bestseller set in Henry VIII's court has already won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Costa Book Award. If she takes the Women's Prize, Mantel will become the first person to win all three of Britain's top literary prizes.
The shortlist for the 30,000-pound ($45,900) literary prize released on Tuesday also included two former winners: fellow Briton Zadie Smith for "NW" and American writer Barbara Kingsolver for "Flight Behaviour".
The other three books were "Where'd You Go Bernadette" by U.S. author Maria Semple, "May We Be Forgiven" from American A.M. Homes and "Life After Life" by Briton Kate Atkinson.
"The shortlist for 2013 represents six tremendous writers at the top of their game," chair of the judging panel Miranda Richardson said.
"Their individual novels are flawlessly presented, they contain a heady mix of ideas and without exception take the reader on a unique and deeply satisfying journey."
"Bring Up the Bodies" is the second book in Mantel's trilogy about Cromwell's rise to power. The other novels on the shortlist included Smith's look at characters in north London, a darkly comic novel about 21st century domesticity from Homes and Kingsolver's exploration of climate change and rural poverty in America's Appalachian region.
Atkinson's tale follows the turbulent events of the last century in Britain through the constantly reincarnating character of Ursula Todd. Semple sets her story in Seattle, where 15-year-old Bee searches for her missing, wealthy and erratic mother Bernadette Fox.
Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Women's Prize for Fiction is awarded annually for the best novel of the year written by a woman.
Any woman writing in English - whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter - is eligible.
The award ceremony will take place in London on June 5.
Previous winners besides Smith and Kingsolver include Madeline Miller for "The Song of Achilles" last year, Rose Tremain for "The Road Home" in 2008 and Lionel Shriver for "We Need to Talk About Kevin" in 2005.