Women’s Prize for Fiction Reading challenge and judges


Posted by Michelle Davenport, 24th January 2020
In support of female writing and Women’s Prize for Fiction we are issuing a reading challenge and have more information about the 2020 judging panel.

Reading Challenge

We challenge you to think differently by diverging from your usual read. Our aim is to widen your reading and to perhaps consider situations from a different perspective.

The challenge is to read at least one book (fiction or non-fiction) written by or about women under the themes below before the Women’s Prize Ceremony on 3 June 2020:

  • A book from the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist or a previous winner of the Prize
  • A book published in the decade you were born.
  • A book about a controversial topic
  • A children’s book
  • Author of colour
  • A book with a hideous cover
  • A book recommended by a colleague, family member or friend
  • Any book from/adapted into a TV series or Film

You might think of your own themes of course, but the idea is to take you out of your comfort zone!

We would love to hear about the theme(s) you’ve chosen and why; what you thought of the book once you’ve read it; did it change your point of view about a particular issue or subject?

Women’s Prize for Fiction judging panel

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Chair of judges

This year’s chair of judges is Baroness Martha Lane Fox who is the youngest woman to sit in the House of Lords (joining at the age of 40!); chancellor of the Open University; co-founder of Lucky Voice karaoke bars amongst many other achievements and accolades. We are sure her unique outlook will be a wonderful contribution to the Prize as we wonder what she looks for in a good book.

Scarlett Curtis

Among this year’s judging panel is Scarlett Curtis who is a writer, journalist and blogger. Scarlett is the curator of the Sunday Times Bestseller and National Book Award winning essay collection Feminist Don’t Wear Pink & other lies. She is contributing editor at The Sunday Times Style and has had work published in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, Vogue and a number of other online and offline magazines and newspapers. Hearing her speak in interview in the Women’s Prize podcast, Scarlett comes across as very level headed and thoughtful, attributes which we are sure she will bring to bear when selecting the shortlist and, in due course, the winner.

Melanie Eusebe

Melanie Eusebe is a British entrepreneur and author, known for co-founding the Black British Business Awards. Melanie was also the Executive Producer for the Women of the World Festival (WoW) a global gender equality festival occurring with over 2 million women in 50 cities over 5 continents. Melanie now has her own strategic consultancy, working with businesses on strategic initiatives and she also runs an online business school for aspiring leaders. Hearing her speak in interview in the Women’s Prize podcast, Melanie comes across as an energetic and enthusiastic champion for equality for everyone. We are sure she will bring just as much energy and enthusiasm when whittling down the nominated books to choose a winner.

Viv Groskop

We are thrilled that Viv Groskop has agreed to speak at Blake Morgan’s London office on 20th May at our Investing in Success event. Viv is a journalist, writer and comedian. She has written for publications including The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Observer, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Red magazine. She writes on arts, books, popular culture and current affairs.

Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins is probably best known for being the author of bestselling book The Girl On The Train, which has also been made into a hugely successful film- living an author’s dream! Being a successful author, we expect she will bring a unique viewpoint as a judge of other authors’ works, perhaps appreciating more than most, the craft and skill required to compose a satisfying and compelling read.