The 2020 Women’s Prize’s judging panel has been unveiled, featuring writer and activist Scarlett Curtis, internationally bestselling author Paula Hawkins and businesswoman and philanthropist Martha Lane Fox among others.
Lane Fox will chair the panel which also includes Melanie Eusebe, co-founder of the Black British Business Awards and author and comedian Viv Groskop as the Prize, which celebrates and honours fiction by women, celebrates its 25th year.
“I am honoured to be chairing the judging panel for this wonderful prize, alongside such an inspiring group of women,” said Lane Fox. “I remember being mesmerised by the books on the first Women’s Prize shortlist, 25 years ago and I will always be grateful to the Prize for exposing me to the awesome breadth of female writing talent. It’s an incredibly exciting time for women’s writing, with amazing authors opening our minds to new perspectives and the endless possibilities of fiction. Our society needs their voices more than ever, and we’re all proud to be part of a Prize that, a quarter of a century later, continues to champion female writers. I’m very much looking forward to many passionate discussions about the nominated works.”
Fellow judge Curtis, who will herself turn 25 in June 2020, added: “Each year the longlisted books ignite conversations around important issues and help women, and men, discover exciting new works of fiction. I’ve grown up with this amazing Prize and have seen how it’s always championed a diverse range of voices, opinions and perspectives so it’s a real privilege to be a part of this cultural movement during its very special 25th anniversary year.”
The UK's only annual book award for writing by women was established in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by female authors written in English to the widest range of readers possible. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible. For the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020, novels must be published in the UK between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020.
The 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction will be awarded on 3rd June 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.
Earlier this year, the Prize announced that the organisation had been awarded charitable status, to become the Women’s Prize Trust. As part of its mission, the Trust is growing its talent development programme to provide a year-round platform for women’s voices and encourage a future generation of women writers.
Tayari Jones won the 2019 award for An American Marriage (Oneworld) with Kamila Shamsie taking home the Prize in 2018 for Home Fire (Bloomsbury).