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Mar 11, 2021

longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction

Kathleen MacMahon's Nothing But Blue Sky

Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, joining former winner Ali Smith, comedian Dawn French and a host of debut novelists on the longlist.

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Telling the story of a widower who examines his relationship with his dead wife and their 20-year marriage Nothing But Blue Sky, was published by Sandycove Press in July 2020 to great acclaim. Donal Ryan said ‘What a beautiful novel… Elegant, understated, subtly powerful, and rings so perfectly true’. Margaret Madden writing in The Sunday Independent called it a "sublime blend of tragic and sharply comic…Not only my favourite novel of the year, but possibly of the decade’. Irish Examiner journalist and writer Sue Leonard wrote, ‘it’s rare to read an account of a happy, normal marriage and she does it brilliantly’. Christine Dwyer Hickey called it ‘Insightful and deeply moving’ while David Park said it ‘explores the complexities of the human heart and reveals how even in the depths of grief, unexpected light can emerge’

Now in its 26th year, the annual £30,000 Women's Prize for Fiction aims to shine a spotlight on “outstanding, ambitious, original fiction” written in English by women anywhere in the world. The 2021 longlist, chosen by a judging panel chaired by Bernardine Evaristo, includes six British authors, five Americans and two Irish writers alongside a Canadian, Barbadian and Ghanaian/American novelist.

Evaristo said: “We read so many brilliant novels for this year’s prize and had an energetic judging session where we discussed our passions, opinions and preferences. Sadly, we had to let some very deserving books go but we’re confident that we have chosen 16 standout novels that represent a truly wide and varied range of fiction by women that reflects multiple perspectives, narrative styles and preoccupations. These novels fascinated, moved, inspired and challenged us and we’re excited at announcing their inclusion on the Women’s Prize


This year's six-book shortlist will be announced on 28th April before a final winner is crowned at a 7th July awards ceremony in central London. Alongside an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000, the winner receives a limited edition bronze figurine known as a “Bessie”, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

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