Women's Prize for Fiction

This is one of the 305 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • A Spell Of Winter by Helen Dunmore

    In "A Spell of Winter," a young girl named Cathy and her brother Rob live in a decaying mansion in the English countryside. As they grow older, their bond intensifies into a forbidden love, leading them down a path of darkness and obsession. Set against the backdrop of World War I, this haunting and atmospheric novel explores themes of love, family secrets, and the destructive power of desire.

    The 10345th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

    "Fugitive Pieces" is a novel that explores the life of a Holocaust survivor who is rescued as a young boy by a Greek geologist. The boy grows up to become a poet and translator, haunted by his traumatic past and the loss of his family. The story also includes the perspective of a young professor who is obsessed with the poet's work, digging into the poet's past to understand his own life. The novel delves into themes of memory, loss, and the power of language.

    The 1505th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Larry's Party by Carol Shields

    Larry's Party is a thought-provoking novel that follows the life of Larry Weller, a man who finds his true passion in creating mazes. As Larry navigates through different stages of his life, the book explores themes of identity, relationships, and the search for meaning. Through Larry's experiences, readers are compelled to reflect on their own journeys and the choices they make along the way.

    The 10379th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Crime In The Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne

    In this captivating novel, a young girl named Marsha recounts a summer in the 1970s when her suburban neighborhood is shaken by a shocking crime. As tensions rise and suspicions grow, Marsha becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind the crime, all while navigating her own complex family dynamics and the challenges of adolescence. With a keen eye for detail and a masterful portrayal of the human psyche, the author crafts a compelling narrative that explores themes of guilt, deception, and the lasting impact of traumatic events on a community.

    The 10379th Greatest Book of All Time
  • When I Lived In Modern Times by Linda Grant

    Set in 1946, "When I Lived In Modern Times" follows the story of Evelyn Sert, a young Jewish woman who leaves post-war Britain to start a new life in Palestine. Embracing the promise of a fresh start in a land of her ancestors, Evelyn becomes immersed in the vibrant and tumultuous world of Tel Aviv. As she navigates the complexities of identity, love, and political unrest, Evelyn must confront her own desires and the realities of the society she finds herself in. With vivid descriptions and compelling characters, the novel explores themes of belonging, self-discovery, and the search for home in a time of great change.

    The 10459th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Idea Of Perfection by Kate Grenville

    "The Idea of Perfection" is a charming and heartfelt novel that follows two unlikely individuals, Harley and Douglas, as they navigate their own personal struggles in the small town of Karakarook. Harley, a self-conscious engineer, finds solace in her love for heritage bridges, while Douglas, a divorced museum curator, battles his fear of change. As their paths intertwine, they embark on an unexpected journey of self-discovery, challenging societal expectations and embracing imperfections along the way. With wit and warmth, the author explores the complexities of human relationships and the pursuit of perfection in a quirky and endearing tale.

    The 10439th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

    In an unnamed South American country, a lavish birthday party is thrown for a powerful businessman, with a famous opera singer as the guest of honor. The party is interrupted by a group of terrorists who take everyone hostage, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. As weeks turn into months, the hostages and their captors form unexpected bonds. The story explores the relationships that develop under these extraordinary circumstances, and the transformative power of music and love.

    The 1169th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Property by Valerie Martin

    "Property" by Valerie Martin is a thought-provoking novel set in the 19th century American South, where the institution of slavery is deeply ingrained. The story follows the complex relationship between Manon, a white plantation mistress, and Sarah, her mulatto slave. Through their contrasting perspectives, the book explores themes of power, race, and identity, shedding light on the harsh realities of slavery and the inherent cruelty of human ownership.

    The 6472nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy

    "Small Island" is a historical novel that explores the intertwined histories of Jamaica and the UK, as well as the themes of race, empire, and migration. The story is set in 1948 and is told from four different perspectives: two Jamaican immigrants, Hortense and Gilbert, who move to England after World War II, and an English couple, Queenie and Bernard. The narrative explores the racial tension, discrimination, and culture shock that the immigrants face in their new home, while also delving into the complexities of war, identity, and the British Empire.

    The 1285th Greatest Book of All Time
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

    "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is a gripping and unsettling novel that explores the complex relationship between a mother and her troubled son. Told through a series of letters written by the mother to her estranged husband, the book delves into the aftermath of a horrific school massacre committed by Kevin. As the mother reflects on her own guilt, fears, and doubts, she questions whether her own actions and choices played a role in shaping Kevin's violent nature. This thought-provoking and chilling narrative explores themes of nature versus nurture, parental responsibility, and the profound impact of tragedy on a family.

    The 1739th Greatest Book of All Time
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith

    This novel is a contemporary, multicultural exploration of family life, love, and identity. It follows the lives of two mixed-race families, the Belseys and the Kipps, who are linked by their shared professions in academia and a complex web of marital and extramarital relationships. The story is set against the backdrop of Wellington, a fictional New England town, and explores themes of race, class, and cultural clash. It also delves into the world of academia, examining the politics and conflicts that arise in that environment.

    The 1459th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    The novel is set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, exploring the impact of the conflict on the lives of its characters. The story is told from the perspective of three characters: a young houseboy, a radical university professor, and the professor's wealthy lover. The narrative delves into themes of love, race, and war, offering a vivid depiction of the horrors of conflict and the resilience of the human spirit.

    The 652nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain

    "The Road Home" is a poignant and heartwarming novel that follows the journey of Lev, a middle-aged Eastern European immigrant who leaves his impoverished homeland to seek a better life in London. Struggling to navigate the unfamiliar language, culture, and job market, Lev encounters a diverse cast of characters who shape his experience, from kind-hearted strangers to exploitative employers. Through Lev's determination and resilience, the novel explores themes of identity, belonging, and the universal human desire for a place to call home.

    The 7912th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson

    "Home" is a deeply emotional narrative that explores the themes of faith, redemption, and the complexity of family relationships. The story revolves around the Boughton family, particularly the prodigal son, Jack, who returns home after twenty years. His struggle to fit into the family and society, and his sister Glory's attempts to help him, form the crux of the story. The book delves into their past, revealing secrets and regrets, and provides a profound reflection on love, loss, and forgiveness.

    The 2425th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

    "The Lacuna" is a captivating historical novel that follows the life of Harrison Shepherd, a young man with a Mexican-American heritage. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events of the early 20th century, including the Mexican Revolution and the McCarthy era in the United States, the story explores themes of identity, politics, and art. Through Shepherd's unique perspective as a writer and his encounters with iconic figures such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the novel delves into the complexities of personal and national history, while also shedding light on the power of storytelling and the search for belonging.

    The 8591st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht

    "The Tiger's Wife" is a captivating novel that weaves together the lives of a young doctor and her grandfather in war-torn Balkans. As the doctor embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind her grandfather's mysterious death, she unravels a tapestry of folklore, superstition, and family secrets. Through her exploration, she uncovers the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife, a woman believed to possess the power to communicate with animals. This beautifully written tale explores themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of storytelling.

    The 6145th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

    The novel is a reimagining of the ancient Greek epic of the Trojan War, told from the perspective of Patroclus, an exiled young prince who becomes the beloved companion of Achilles, the greatest warrior of his age. Their deep bond and affection for one another transform into a powerful love that defies the expectations of their society and the will of the gods. As they grow into men, their fates become increasingly intertwined with the legendary conflict at Troy, where honor, sacrifice, and destiny culminate in a poignant and tragic conclusion. The story explores themes of heroism, glory, and the humanizing effects of love against the backdrop of war and the capricious whims of immortals.

    The 2092nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes

    "May We Be Forgiven" is a darkly comedic and deeply introspective novel that follows the life of Harry Silver, a middle-aged Nixon scholar whose life unravels after a tragic event. As Harry navigates through a series of unexpected and bizarre situations, he grapples with themes of family, identity, and redemption. With sharp wit and poignant observations, the book explores the complexities of human relationships and the possibility of finding forgiveness and second chances in a world filled with chaos and uncertainty.

    The 8289th Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

    "A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing" is a powerful and experimental novel that delves into the psyche of a young woman as she navigates through a tumultuous and abusive childhood, her complex relationship with her mentally and physically disabled brother, and her own journey towards self-discovery and identity. Written in a unique stream-of-consciousness style, the book explores themes of trauma, sexuality, religion, and resilience, offering a raw and unflinching portrayal of the human experience.

    The 8390th Greatest Book of All Time
  • How to be both by Ali Smith

    This novel is a dual narrative that explores the interconnected stories of a 15th-century Italian Renaissance artist named Francesco del Cossa and a modern-day teenager named George. The book is divided into two parts, one set in the past and one in the present, and the order in which they are read can change the reader's interpretation of the story. The novel delves into themes of art, gender, sexuality, and the fluidity of identity, while also examining the ways in which we perceive and understand the world around us.

    The 3371st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

    "The Glorious Heresies" is a darkly comedic novel set in post-recession Ireland, chronicling the interconnected lives of a cast of colorful characters. When a accidental murder takes place, the lives of a gangster, a prostitute, a teenage drug dealer, and a mother struggling to survive become entangled in a web of secrets and lies. As their paths converge, they are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and grapple with the complexities of love, redemption, and forgiveness in a gritty and unforgiving world.

    The 10694th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman

    "The Power" by Naomi Alderman is a speculative fiction novel that imagines a world where women develop the ability to produce electrical shocks from their bodies, giving them a newfound physical power over men. The novel follows the lives of four characters as they navigate this new reality and the societal and political upheaval that comes with it. Through their experiences, the book explores themes of gender, power, and the corrupting nature of authority.

    The 4892nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

    "Home Fire" is a contemporary reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone set against the backdrop of modern-day London and Syria. The novel explores the lives of five characters caught in a complex web of love, loyalty, and sacrifice. The story revolves around two British-Pakistani families, each struggling with their own dilemmas related to identity, radicalism, and loyalty. One family is headed by a powerful politician who disowns his jihadist son, while the other consists of three orphaned siblings whose lives are turned upside down when their brother is accused of joining ISIS. The novel explores the consequences of their actions, questioning the extent to which one can go for love and loyalty.

    The 4839th Greatest Book of All Time
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

    The book is a profound exploration of love, loyalty, and justice, centered on a young African American couple whose lives are shattered when the husband is wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn't commit. The narrative delves into the emotional turmoil that ensues, as the wife struggles with her obligations to her husband and her own desires for happiness. Through a series of letters exchanged between the couple during the husband's incarceration, and the perspectives of those entangled in their plight, the story examines the complexities of marriage, the impact of racial injustice on personal relationships, and the resilience required to overcome profound adversity.

    The 4148th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

    "Hamnet" is a deeply moving and beautifully written historical novel that reimagines the life of a young boy, Hamnet, who is the son of a glovemaker in Stratford-upon-Avon. The boy tragically dies at the age of 11, which leaves a profound impact on his family, particularly his father, who is inspired to write one of the world's most famous plays. The narrative alternates between the time leading up to Hamnet's death and the aftermath, providing an intimate portrait of grief, love, and the power of art.

    The 4463rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

    "Piranesi" by Susanna Clarke is a captivating and enigmatic novel that follows the life of the eponymous character, who inhabits a vast and mysterious house known as the House. With its labyrinthine halls and countless statues, Piranesi's existence is solitary and filled with wonder as he meticulously explores and documents the ever-shifting environment. However, his seemingly idyllic existence is disrupted when he encounters another person in the House, leading to a series of revelations that challenge his understanding of reality and his place within it. Through beautiful prose and a sense of profound mystery, "Piranesi" explores themes of identity, memory, and the power of perception.

    The 10723rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Book Of Form And Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

    "The Book of Form and Emptiness" follows the journey of a young boy named Benny Oh who discovers an extraordinary ability to hear the voices of inanimate objects. As Benny navigates his complicated family dynamics and copes with the loss of his father, he becomes entangled with a cast of eccentric characters and finds solace in the companionship of the objects around him. This thought-provoking novel explores themes of grief, identity, and the power of imagination, ultimately challenging readers to reconsider their relationship with the material world.

    The 10767th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

    "Demon Copperhead" is a short story by Barbara Kingsolver about a young woman named Codi who returns to her small hometown in Arizona to care for her father, who is dying of Alzheimer's disease. As she reconnects with her past and the people in her community, Codi discovers a dark secret about her family's history and must come to terms with the truth. The story explores themes of family, identity, and the impact of the past on the present.

    The 6231st Greatest Book of All Time
About this list

Women's Prize for Fiction, 28 Books

The Women's Prize for Fiction (previously called Orange Prize for Fiction (1996-2006 & 2009-12), Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007-2008) and Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (2014-2017)) is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, annually awarded 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.

Added 8 months ago.

How Good is this List?

This list has a weight of 16%. To learn more about what this means please visit the Rankings page.

Here is a list of what is decreasing the importance of this list:

  • List: only covers 1 year (yearly book awards, best of the year, etc)
  • List: only covers 1 specific gender
  • Voters: are mostly from a single country/location

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