The 2019 Women’s Prize’s judging panel has been unveiled, featuring author and historian Kate Williams, writer Dolly Alderton, and Unbound’s Arifa Akbar among others.
Williams, who is also Professor of history at the University of Reading, will preside over the judging panel which also includes Sunday Times journalist, Alderton, whose debut Everything I Know About Love (Penguin) was recently nominated for Waterstones Book of the Year. Literary journalist and Unbound’s head of content, Akbar, has been appointed as a judge alongside Somali-British psychotherapist Leyla Hussein, a longtime campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM), while digital entrepreneur and diversity advocate Sarah Wood will also help to whittle down this year's best fiction by female writers.
Williams, who has written novels as well as historical biographies, said: “I am very honoured to be chairing the judging panel for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction alongside such an incredible and inspiring group of women. The works of female writers continue to move, challenge and entertain us - as well as open up new perspectives onto our world. At this point in history, the need for different kinds of voices is more pressing than ever, and I'm looking forward to discussing this year's nominated books with my fellow judges."
The line-up reveal comes just weeks after it was announced that Global TV production company Fremantle would become a sponsor of the prize. The award is in the process of becoming a charity and is now known as the Women’s Prize Trust. Its new and growing patrons scheme offers two levels of involvement, Patrons for a £1000 donation, and Prize Circle Patrons for a 3-year commitment of £5000 a-year.
The longlist will be announced on 4th March next year, before the shortlist is revealed on 29th April. The prize will be awarded on June 5th 2019 at an awards ceremony in central London; it comprises 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.
Kamila Shamsie won this year's prize in June for her “extraordinarily topical” novel Home Fire (Bloomsbury Circus). The book was last night also shortlisted for DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018.
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