For the first time, the majority of the novelists were women, a refreshing piece of news to hear from the literati, recently sent not-quite reeling by the third VIDA count in a row to reveal women are still under-represented by the critics.
Early reviews of the anthology of writing from all 20 list members speak of “solid, old-fashioned storytelling” or “boil-in-the-bag postmodernism”, but there’s no denying that this list is, in some respects, far more forward-thinking than previous offerings.
As well as being chock-full of women, a good deal of the writers are from decidedly international backgrounds, including Nigeria, Ghana, the US and Bangladesh.
The writers are a good mix of established names and the more up-and-coming. Zadie Smith, a member of the 2003 list, makes the cut, as do Booker-shortlisted Sarah Hall, Orange-shortlisted Kamila Shamsie and the brilliant Naomi Alderman.
Less well-knowns include Toni Morrison mentored Taiye Selasi and Nadifa Mohamed, currently working on only her second novel but nominated for a host of awards for her début, Black Mamba Boy.
We’re on tenterhooks to see what these lot do next – and grinning from ear to ear that so many women have received recognition.
The full list is below:
Which ones have you read? And who else would have been on your list?