Women’s Prize for Fiction announces 2020 shortlist

Posted on 22nd April 2020
The Women’s Prize for Fiction, the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honouring fiction by women, announced six books that have made its 2020 shortlist. Now in its 25th year, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world.

The shortlist, which will be announced digitally across the Women’s Prize for Fiction social media channels by Chair of the Judges Martha Lane Fox, follows in alphabetical order by author’s surname:

  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
  • Weather by Jenny Offill

The judges for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, all of whom are passionate about shining a light on writing by women, are:

  • Martha Lane Fox (Chair), businesswoman, philanthropist and public servant
  • Scarlett Curtis, writer and activist
  • Melanie Eusebe, co-founder of the Black British Business Awards
  • Viv Groskop, author and comedian
  • Paula Hawkins, international bestselling author

Chair of the Judges, Martha Lane Fox, said: “We are all living in challenging, sad and complex times so incredible stories provide hope, a moment of escape and a point of connection now more than ever. Choosing the shortlist was tough – we went slowly and carefully and passions ran high – just as you would want in such a process. But we are all so proud of these books – all readers will find solace if they pick one up.”

This year’s list features one previously shortlisted author (Hilary Mantel, who has been shortlisted three times, for Beyond Black, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies). Bernardine Evaristo won the Orange Prize Youth Panel award in 2009, for her novel Blonde Roots.

Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction written by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Women’s Prize for Fiction will be awarded to the best full-length novel of the year, written by a woman and published in the UK between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.

2020 marks the Women’s Prize for Fiction’s 25th anniversary and the Prize is celebrating the milestone with a number of flagship campaigns including #ReadingWomen, a digital book club encouraging readers to take on the challenge of reading each of the previous Women’s Prize winning novels. The challenge hopes to offer the reading nation a source of comfort during lockdown and will culminate in the autumn, when the ‘Winner of Winners’ will be chosen in a public vote. The Prize has also launched a new series of its acclaimed podcast.

2020 chair of the judges Martha Lane Fox will be joined by Women’s Prize Founder Director Kate Mosse on 6 May, via Zoom, for a deep dive into the six shortlisted books and a behind-the-scenes look at the judging process. Audience members are invited to submit questions to Martha and Kate in advance through the Women’s Prize for Fiction social channels. For details, visit the Women’s Prize for Fiction website or @WomensPrize on Twitter or Instagram.

Blake Morgan are delighted to continue our support for the Prize. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Shortlist Readings have been postponed and will now be held at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday 8 September 2020. Tickets can be purchased from the Southbank Centre website from 27 April.

The 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction awards ceremony and winner announcement has also been rescheduled and will take place on 9 September 2020, at an awards ceremony in central London. The winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

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