In January 1992 a group of journalists, reviewers, agents, publishers, librarians and booksellers met to discuss the previous year’s Booker Prize award as it had been noted there were no women represented in the shortlist. In fact, women writers on the whole appeared to be sorely under represented across many literary prize awards. It was decided that a respected literary prize solely to celebrate women’s creativity should be available and so began the story of The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.


The prize started slowly but surely and in 1995 they secured sponsorship from Orange and for the following 18 years became known as The Orange Prize for Fiction. It was only in 2013 that sponsorship changed hands to that of Baileys and The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, as we know it today, was launched.

The 2016 Winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced last night at a glittering awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, London. The evening was hosted by novelist, and Prize Co-Founder, Kate Mosse and the 2016 Chair of Judges, Margaret Mountford, presented the winner with a £30,000 prize along with the infamous ‘Bessie’ – a limited edition bronze figurine, which was created to honour the original anonymous benefactor who helped to launch the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner 2016 – The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

The Glorious Heresies

“One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a 15-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute, whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after 40 years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, she threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight.”

The Glorious Heresies is available to loan from the University Library, along with all the other shortlisted titles. Be sure to check out our Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction display in the Library foyer (next to the returns machine) for other shortlisted titles and general good reads!

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist 2016

Cynthia Bond: Ruby

Anne Enright: The Green Road

Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen

Hannah Rothschild: The Improbability of Love

Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life