The Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction has announced its 2015 shortlist. While the names may be not entirely familiar to casual American readers, some are very high-profile in the UK, where the prize is based. One is not.
The six books on the shortlist are:
"Outline" by Rachel Cusk
"The Bees" by Laline Paull
"A God in Every Stone" by Kamila Shamsie
"How to Be Both" by Ali Smith
"A Spool of Blue Thread" by Anne Tyler
"The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters
Of the authors on the list, Smith has three times been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Tyler, the sole American, is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Cusk and Shamsie have previously been shortlisted for the women's fiction prize. Waters has won the Lambda literary award for fiction and been shortlisted for the women's fiction and Man Booker prizes.
Paull is the newcomer. Her book "The Bees" is a story set in a beehive that's billed as "The Handmaid's Tale" meets "The Hunger Games." Shami Chakrabarti, chief of the Bailey's judges, told the Guardian it's "the Animal Farm of the 21st century. On one hand you get the originality and the cheekiness and the brilliant idea – to talk about society and politics in the context of a beehive. But then the writing is so good that you believe Flora [the protagonist bee] is a person."
The Bailey's women's prize for fiction will be awarded in London on June 3.