'Inspirational' women choose favourite books for Baileys

'Inspirational' women choose favourite books for Baileys

Nineteen "inspirational" women, including Caitlin Moran, Dawn O’Porter, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Sandi Toksvig, will mark 19 years of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction by sharing the books by women that have most impacted their lives.

The #ThisBook campaign is a new initiative from the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, and aims to inspire book lovers to share their favourite books using the hashtag on Twitter.

The hashtag will be monitored and a #ThisBook Top 20 list will be created and revealed at the end of July. Kate Mosse, co-founder and chair of the Women’s Prize for Fiction Board, picked Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, which she said “changed the rules of what was acceptable for women to write”.

Mosse said the project was “a wonderful way to encourage readers to share their #ThisBook stories via social media” and “an exciting opportunity to identify the books that people are actually reading, talking about and recommending to other people right now”.

“The resulting Top 20 #ThisBook list will, we hope, be very different to other book polls we often see,” she continued.

“The Women’s Prize was founded in 1996 both to celebrate exceptional writing by women and also to promote outstanding books by women to as wide a range of male and female readers as possible, whatever age, wherever they live, whatever their circumstances or experiences.

“Our eminent group of women have started the ball rolling with their choices and I can’t wait to see what other books have had such an impact.

“It’s over to readers now to join in the conversation and let us know their #ThisBook.”

Moran picked Two Pence to Cross the Mersey by Helen Forrester, and said it was the book that made her start “to educate myself about the history of England”, while O’Porter picked Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, which she read when she was 17 and spoke to her “more than any other book that I’d read at that period in my life”.

Paralympian Grey-Thompson picked Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, while Toksvig picked Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird was picked by two women – Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti and singer and musician Sharleen Spiteri.

Readers can submit their chosen book on Twitter using #ThisBook, or visit the website to find out more.

To support the campaign, photographer and filmmaker Alice Hawkins has captured the 19 women discussing their #ThisBook choice.This year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner will be announced on 4th June. Competing for the prize are Eimear McBride for her debut A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (Galley Beggar Press/Faber and Faber); Audrey Magee for The Undertaking (Atlantic Books); Hannah Kent for Burial Rites (Picador); Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Americanah (Fourth Estate); Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch (Little, Brown); and Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland (Bloomsbury).
The full list of women and their #ThisBook choices are:
Baroness Valerie Amos: Beloved by Toni Morrison
Zawe Ashton: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Mary Beard:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Edith Bowman: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Saffron Burrows: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Shami Chakrabarti: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Gwendoline Christie:  I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Grace Dent: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
Katherine Grainger: Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Martha Lane Fox: Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
Caitlin Moran: Two Pence to Cross the Mersey by Helen Forrester
Kate Mosse: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Dawn O’Porter: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Susanna Reid: We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Jennifer Saunders: Dust by Patricia Cornwell
Sharleen Spiteri: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Tanni Grey-Thompson: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Sandi Toksvig: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Joanna Trollope: The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay