The Women’s Prize for Fiction is marking its 25th anniversary with a campaign encouraging people to read all the previous award-holders before a “Winner of Winners prize” is chosen through a public vote.
A campaign called #ReadingWomen will challenge readers to plough through the 25 previous books, written by authors including Andrea Levy, Lionel Shriver, Ali Smith and Zadie Smith.
The campaign will spotlight each winner in chronological order on its website and social channels, one every 10 days, starting on 17th February with the prize’s first winner, A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (Penguin).
Readers will be able to access accompanying resources for each book including new reading guides, extract widgets provided by Nielsen and exclusive author content. It culminates in the autumn, when the “Winner of Winners” from across the past 25 years will be chosen in a public vote.
Prize founder and director Kate Mosse said: “Our aim was always to promote and celebrate the classics of tomorrow today and to build a library of exceptional and outstanding fiction by women. This a perfect moment to reflect on our past winners, to welcome our twenty-fifth winner, and to look forward to what the future might hold for women's voices and creative talents. We’re delighted to be working with so many fantastic partners in the world of books and beyond to get our message heard far and wide.
“By taking part in our #ReadingWomen challenge, our hope is that more readers than ever before will discover the brilliance of our previous winners and enjoy the phenomenal quality and range of fiction written by women—great writing doesn't age."
Campaign partner Waterstones will provide a commercial platform for the campaign, including promotion of the winning books both in store and online, digital support and events throughout the year.
In partnership with The Reading Agency and Waterstones, the prize will be working with book groups across the country, which will take on the challenge and log their experiences and document their readers’ journey.
Bea Carvalho, Waterstones fiction buyer, said: “The prize is of huge cultural and commercial importance, and has been instrumental in the careers of some of the most exciting novelists writing today. Through the 25th anniversary celebrations and the #ReadingWomen campaign we have a welcome chance to be part of a year-long conversation about women’s writing, and to shine a spotlight on the prize’s 24 previous winners. Their enduring success is testament to the prize’s quality and influence, and we look forward to sharing them all with many new readers throughout 2020 and beyond.”
The campaign will also feature on the Women’s Prize’s recently launched podcast, with eight special episodes dedicated to discussing the 24 previous winners. Each episode will feature three well-known influencers from the worlds of arts, politics, feminism and comedy, discussing three of the books centered around a common theme. The first episode, featuring Melissa Hemsley, Raifa Rafiq and Joe Haddow, aired today.
The longlist for the 2020 prize will be announced on 3rd March, with a shortlist due on 22nd April before a winner is crowned on 3rd June.