Women’s Prize for Fiction: Anne Enright and Claire Kilroy shortlisted

Previous winner Kate Grenville and debut writer Aube Rey Lescure also on shortlist

Irish authors Anne Enright and Claire Kilroy make up one-third of this year’s shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Enright, who won the Booker Prize for The Gathering, has been shortlisted for her seventh novel, The Wren, The Wren, while Kilroy is recognised for her third novel, and her first in 10 years, Soldier Sailor. Enright has been longlisted twice before in 2008 and 2020 and shortlisted twice in 2012 and 2016.

The 2024 shortlist also features Restless Dolly Maunder by Australian Kate Grenville, who won in 2001 with The Idea of Perfection; River East, River West by debut Franco-American writer Aube Rey Lescure; Brotherless Night by US author VV Ganeshananthan and Enter Ghost by British author Isabella Hammad, both second novels. Ganeshananthan was longlisted in 2009.

“This year’s shortlist features six brilliant, thought-provoking and spellbinding novels that between them capture an enormous breadth of the human experience,” author Monica Ali, chair of judges, said. “Readers will be captivated by the characters, the luminous writing and the exquisite storytelling. Each book is gloriously compelling and inventive and lingers in the heart and mind long after the final page.”


Ali is joined on the judging panel by fellow authors Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ, Laura Dockrill and Anna Whitehouse; and actor Indira Varma.

Soldier Sailor by Kilroy explores the emotional terrain of becoming a new mother in all its visceral panic, raising pertinent questions about female autonomy, creativity and motherhood. The Wren, The Wren by Enright traces the impact of a traumatic childhood, and the long shadow of memory for the generations that follow. Fractured family relations also feature in Ganeshananthan’s Brotherless Night, set against the shocking violence of the Sri Lankan civil war. Hammad’s Enter Ghost delves into the experience of modern-day Palestine, exploring a tale of self-discovery against a backdrop of erasure and disempowerment. Similarly, Lescure’s River East, River West takes the traditional immigrant narrative and reverses it. Set amidst China’s economic boom in the latter half of the 21st century, this novel examines how Western media influences, distorts and often harms the expectations of young people living in China. Pioneering aspirations also dominate the narrative of Restless Dolly Maunder by Grenville. A tale that begins in the 1880s in rural Australia, it follows one woman’s attempt to live a bigger, more independent life than the one that she’s been granted.

Half of the titles are published by independent publishers: Faber & Faber, Canongate and Duckworth. The other half of the list is made up of Penguin Random House imprints Jonathan Cape and Viking

The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced on June 13th at the Women’s Prize Trust’s summer party in central London, along with the inaugural winner of the 2024 Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

Barbara Kingsolver won last year with Demon Copperhead.

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle is Books Editor of The Irish Times