Evie Wyld, Hannah Kent, and Eleanor Catton are among the 20 outstanding women longlisted for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, the award honours works which demonstrate excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s fiction. This year it features an international cast of writers from the United States, Ireland, Canada, Nigeria, Britain, and of course, Australia and New Zealand.

The Antipodes also feature in the works themselves, with Evie Wyld’s All The Birds, Singing set both in Australia and on a remote English island, and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries depicting life in the New Zealand goldfields. Debut Australian author Hannah Kent in contrast uses the formidable landscape of northern Iceland as the setting for her novel Burial Rites.

The judging panel, consisting of Chair Helen Fraser, former managing director of Penguin Books, classicist Mary Beard, writer Denise Mina and journalists Caitlin Moran and Sophie Raworth, commended the quality of entrants in this year’s prize.

“This is a fantastic selection of books of the highest quality – intensely readable, gripping, intelligent and surprising – that you would want to press on your friends, and the judges have been doing just that,” said Fraser.

Six finalists will be announced on 7 April, and the winner of the prize will be revealed on 4 June.

Don’t miss Eleanor Catton and Evie Wyld speak in person at the Festival

In an exclusive London event on Thursday 3 April Eleanor Catton will be joined in conversation by Robert Macfarlane, Chair of the Man Booker Prize judges at Islington’s Union Chapel. Find out more about this fantastic event here.

Evie Wyld, named one of Granta’s 20 best young writers in 2013, is confirmed to attend the Festival on 29 May – 1 June 2014.  Further details will be available when the full program is released on 3 April 2014.

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