The shortlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction, honoring "excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world," is:
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Lynda Sasscer Hill has won the $10,000 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which recognizes "the best book-length work of any genre, with a Thoroughbred racing backdrop," for her mystery novel Flamingo Road (Minotaur Books). The book is the first of a series introducing undercover Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau agent Fia McKee. (The second volume in the series, The Dark Side of Town, was published last week.) The author is a former amateur steeplechase jockey who writes under the name Sasscer Hill and has bred, owned, and trained Thoroughbreds in Maryland for more than 30 years.
Lead judge Kay Coyte described Flamingo Road as "a can't-put-it-down book, with snappy dialogue and plenty of twists and turns... Sasscer Hill's evocative storytelling likely comes from her own racing background. But most impressive was her development of the book's unsavory characters, the crooks and charlatans, all of whom sparkle with sharp focus and the urgency of today's crime headlines... It had a great deal of heart and even some comic relief."