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The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie has been longlisted for The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016. The novel, described as ‘Ambitious, spirited, funny, and daring’ by The Financial Times, has earned brilliant reviews all round.


Today, on International Women’s Day, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction organizers announced the twenty books which make up the 2016 longlist. This included Elizabeth’s McKenzie’s The Portable Velben, a riotously funny and deeply insightful adventure through capitalism, the medical industry, family, love, war and wedding-planning.

‘Raw and weird and hilarious . . . very entertaining’ – Scarlett Thomas, Guardian

About the Prize

Launched in 1996, the Baileys Prize is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’.

2016 Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford said of this year’s longlist: “We had a hugely enjoyable and stimulating meeting, as there were a great many strong novels in contention. We are delighted with the quality, the imaginative scope and the ambition of our chosen books, a longlist which reflects the judges’ interests and tastes. We hope readers will enjoy the variety of outstanding work on offer.”

‘The squirreliest novel I ever read. I enjoyed it completely’ – Ursula K. Le Guin

About The Portable Veblen

Meet Veblen: a passionate defender of the anti-consumerist views of her name-sake, the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen. She’s an experienced cheerer-upper (mainly of her narcissistic, hypochondriac, controlling mother), an amateur translator of Norwegian, and a firm believer in the distinct possibility that the plucky grey squirrel following her around can understand more than it lets on.

Meet her fiancé, Paul: the son of good hippies who were bad parents, a no-nonsense, high-flying neuroscientist with no time for squirrels. His recent work on a device to minimize battlefield trauma has led him dangerously close to the seductive Cloris Hutmacher, heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire, who is promising him fame and fortune through a shady-sounding deal with the Department of Defence. What could possibly go wrong?

‘A novel of festive originality’ – The New York Times

About Elizabeth McKenzie

Elizabeth McKenzie’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. She received her MA from Stanford, was an assistant fiction editor at The Atlantic, and currently teaches creative writing at Stanford’s school of continuing studies.

The 2016 shortlist will be announced on Monday 11th April, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday 8th June.

See full longlist.