Another cheat succeeds

Another non-first first!

A trans woman has been nominated for the Women’s prize for fiction for the first time, with Torrey Peters making the longlist for the £30,000 award for her acclaimed debut Detransition, Baby.

Oh do shut up.

The whole point of having a Women’s prize for fiction is to get around the problem that women get overlooked so easily. “Trans women” are men; men should not be candidates for prizes designated for women.

Peters’ longlisting comes after organisers clarified in 2020 that it was open to any “cis woman, a transgender woman or anyone who is legally defined as a woman or of the female sex”. “It’s a prize for women, and trans women are women, so …” said chair of judges and author Bernardine Evaristo.

But trans women are not women, so…

Akwaeke Emezi, the non-binary transgender author who was nominated for the Women’s prize in 2019, has previously said they would not allow their future books to be entered because organisers had asked for information on their sex as defined “by law”. On Wednesday, organisers said they asked publishers to confirm eligibility “when submitting and confirming again at longlist stage”.

Well then we can’t have women’s anything. If we’re not allowed to confirm that women are women then men will take advantage.

Peters is up against former winner Ali Smith, chosen this time for the last in her quartet of seasonal novels, Summer; and comedian turned novelist Dawn French, picked for her “warm, compassionate, funny” look at motherhood, Because of You.

I certainly hope Smith or French wins.

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