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Kingsolver, O’Farrell among Women’s Prize fiction contenders

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Previous winners Barbara Kingsolver and Maggie O’Farrell are among contenders announced Tuesday for the 30,000 pound ($36,000) Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Kingsolver’s Appalachian update of Charles Dickens, “Demon Copperhead,” and O’Farrell’s Italian Renaissance tale “The Marriage Portrait” are among 16 books on the longlist for the prestigious award.

Kingsolver won the prize in 2010 for “The Lacuna” and O’Farrell won in 2020 for “Hamnet.”

Other books on the list include “Trespasses,” a love story set during Northern Ireland’s years of violence by Irish writer Louise Kennedy; reality-inspired crime story “Cursed Bread” by British writer Sophie Mackintosh; and American writer Tara M. Stringfellow’s intergenerational saga “Memphis.”

Two shortlisted books are told from the perspective of animals: anthropomorphic fable “Glory” by Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo and British writer Laline Paull’s deep-sea dolphin drama “Pod.”

Journalist Louise Minchin, who is chairing the panel of judges, said the list was “a glorious celebration of the boundless imagination and creative ambition of women writers over the past year.”

Founded in 1996, the prize is open to female English-language writers from around the world. Previous winners include Zadie Smith, Tayari Jones and Susanna Clarke. Last year’s prize went to Canadian-American novelist Ruth Ozeki for “The Book of Form and Emptiness.”

A list of six finalists will be announced on April 26, and the 2023 Women’s Prize winner will be unveiled June 14 at a ceremony in London.

This story was originally published March 7, 2023, 1:06 PM.

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