Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is one of 20 books longlisted for the £30,000 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The Guardian begins its coverage with two paragraphs about Chambers’ accomplishment:
Four years ago, technical writer Becky Chambers had run out of paying work, and turned to crowdfunding to raise the $2,500 (£1,750) she needed to finish writing her debut novel. Now her space opera has been longlisted for the Baileys women’s prize for fiction, alongside works by some of the most garlanded names writing today, from Anne Enright to Kate Atkinson.
In 2012, the American writer had asked Kickstarter for the money she needed, to give her “two months of mornings dedicated to finishing” The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. “I found myself in a jam. I was out of paying work until June, and I didn’t know how I was going to make a book happen without losing sanity and shelter in the process,” she wrote at the time. She secured the funds and initially self-published the novel, in which a ship of wormhole builders travels the galaxy, making holes in space. She went on to land a deal with Hodder & Stoughton.
Chambers’ novel is the only sf/f genre work in contention, going by my review of Amazon’s one-paragraph summaries of these titles.
- Kate Atkinson: A God in Ruins
- Shirley Barrett: Rush Oh!
- Cynthia Bond: Ruby
- Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord
- Becky Chambers: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
- Jackie Copleton: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding
- Rachel Elliott: Whispers Through a Megaphone
- Anne Enright: The Green Road
- Petina Gappah: The Book of Memory
- Vesna Goldsworthy: Gorsky
- Clio Gray: The Anatomist’s Dream
- Melissa Harrison: At Hawthorn Time
- Attica Locke: Pleasantville
- Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies
- Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen
- Sara Novi?: Girl at War
- Julia Rochester: The House at the Edge of the World
- Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love
- Elizabeth Strout: My Name is Lucy Barton
- Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life
The judges’ six-title shortlist, to be revealed April 11. The winner will be announced June 8.