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Emily St. John Mandel and Heather O’Neill nominated for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Heather O'Neill

Heather O’Neill

B.C.-born novelist Emily St. John Mandel and Montreal author Heather O’Neill are among the 20 international writers longlisted for the U.K.’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction).

St. John Mandel’s dystopian Station Eleven (HarperCollins Canada) follows a wandering group of actors in the Great Lakes region after civilzation is wiped out by a pandemic, while O’Neill’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night (HarperCollins Canada) chronicles the escapades of a pair of exuberant twin girls from a famous family in Montreal.

The award, now in its 20th year, recognizes excellence in an English-language novel by a woman of any nationality published in the U.K. the previous year. It was established to redress gender bias in other international literary awards.

This year’s judges, chaired by Liberty organization director and Oxford Brookes University chancellor Shami Chakrabarti, are Everyday Sexism project founder Laura Bates, The Independent columnist Grace Dent, writer Helen Dunmore, and journalist Cathy Newman.

The longlist, culled from 165 titles, includes bestsellers like Ali Smith’s How to be Both and Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread.

The shortlist for the £30,000 prize will be announced April 13, and the winner June 3.