Yaa Gyasi, Cherie Jones, and Brit Bennett are on the shortlist of the Women’s Prize for Literature 2021 announced on April 28, 2021.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction, started in 1996, is awarded annually to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year. Previous winners of the prize include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith and Ali Smith.

The judging panel for 2021, chaired by Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, has Elizabeth Day, Vick Hope, Nesrine Malik, and Sarah-Jane Mee. They revealed the longlist for the award, with four writers of African descent, on March 10.

The shortlist revealed on Wednesday has six writers in the running, three of whom are of African descent. They are;

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

Chair of judges and novelist Bernardine Evaristo, said: ‘Coming up with a longlist of sixteen books for this prize was relatively easy compared to whittling the selection down to six novels, which by necessity demands more consensus. Sadly, we had to lose so many exceptional books that we loved. However, with this shortlist, we are excited to present a gloriously varied and thematically rich exploration of women’s fiction at its finest. These novels will take the reader from a rural Britain left behind to the underbelly of a community in Barbados; from inside the hectic performance of social media to inside a family beset by addiction and oppression; from a tale of racial hierarchy in America to a mind-expanding tale of altered perceptions. Fiction by women defies easy categorisation or stereotyping, and all of these novels grapple with society’s big issues expressed through thrilling storytelling. We feel passionate about them, and we hope readers do too.’

Watch the writers being revealed in the below video;

The 25th winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.