The longlist features quite a few literary heavyweights, including Hilary Mantel (this is the third major literary award nomination she has received for her newest book Bringing Up the Bodies), Zadie Smith, Barbara Kingsolver and AM Homes. It also features many buzzed-about books from last year, including Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, Maria Semple's Where'd You Go Bernadette, and Sheila Heti's How Should A Person Be?.
The winner will receive £30,000 (about $45,000.00), as well as and a bronze award referred to as a "Bessie."
Last year, the Prize (then known as the Orange Prize for Fiction) lost its key sponsor, Orange. This endangered a prize that supported women authors worldwide.
However, the Prize board ended up being overwhelmed with companies who wanted to be donors. Despite this, the board decided the award for 2013 would be privately funded.
For any of those who feel the need to ask why it's necessary to have a prize that singles out female fiction authors, just take a look at the VIDA statistics about the number of female book reviewers and the number of female authors whose books were reviewed by prominent organizations in the past year. We hope that answers your question.