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Rathbones Folio prize: Zadie Smith makes female-dominated shortlist

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Eight books in contention for £30,000 award that has never been won by a woman include Zadie Smith’s story collection Grand Union and poet Fiona Benson’s Vertigo & Ghost

Zadie Smith and Forward prize winner Fiona Benson are among six female authors shortlisted for this year’s Rathbones Folio prize, which has not yet been won by a woman.

Set up in the wake of controversy around the 2011 Booker prize, which saw chair of judges Stella Rimington praising “readability” and books that “zip along”, to the dismay of parts of the literary establishment, the £30,000 prize rewards “the best work of literature of the year, regardless of form”. It has been won in the past by books including Raymond Antrobus’s poetry collection The Perseverance and Richard Lloyd Parry’s look at the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 disaster Ghosts of the Tsunami.

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