2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, which was established in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction written by female authors to as many readers as possible. The judges for 2020 Women’s Prize have been announced so without further ado, meet the judging panel.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 judges, from right to left; Paula Hawkins, Viv Groskop, Martha Lane Fox, Scarlett Curtis, Melanie Eusebe
Martha Lane Fox – Chair of Judges:
Martha Lane Fox, also known as Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, is a British business person, philanthropist and public servant. She is the founder and executive chair of Doteveryone.org.uk, an independent think tank and charity which “champions responsible technology for a fairer future.” Martha Lane Fox also co-founded the holiday site lastminute.com, sits on the boards for Twitter, Donmar Warehouse and Chanel, as well as being serving as a trustee of the Queens Commonwealth Trust. In 2013, she entered the House of Lords as a crossbencher, making her the youngest female member. In 2014, she was appointed chancellor of the Open University.
In November 2019, Lane Fox was named, by a media and marketing company publication called The Drum (in association with the Futures Network, Innovate Her and WACL) as the most influential woman in Britain’s digital sector over the last 25 years.
“I am honoured to be chairing the judging panel for this wonderful prize, alongside such an inspiring group of women,” said Chair of Judges, Martha Lane Fox, “I remember being mesmerised by the books of the first Women’s Prize shortlist, 25 years ago and I will always be grateful to the Prize for exposing me to the awesome breath 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.”
A feminist, activist and author, Scarlett Curtis turns 25 next year during the same year as the Women’s Prize for Fiction celebrates its own 25th year. In 2017, alongside Amika George, Curtis founded a collective called The Pink Protest which campaigned for #FreePeriods to fight period poverty. Alongside activist Nimco Ali, The Pink Protest have also campaigned against female genital mutilation and successfully included FGM in the Children’s Act.
In 2018, Scarlett Curtis curated an anthology entitled Feminist Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies), a collection of essays from 52 women in which writers, celebrities, and activists explained what feminism means to them. All royalties from the book went to the United Nations Charity, Girl Up. The book also saw a spin off podcast of the same name hosted by Scarlett Curtis.
In 2019, Curtis curated a second anthology, It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies), which is a collection of essays from 74 people about what mental health means to them. Again this book included some well know names including; Adam Kay, Emma Thompson, Sam Smith, and more. 10% of the profits from this book go toward SHOUT, a 24/7 mental health crisis text service.
Upon being appointed a judge, Scarlett Cutis said, “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.”
Viv Groskop is a British journalist, writer and comedian who has worked for publications including’ The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Observer, Daily Mail, Mail of Sunday, and Red Magazine. She writes about art, book, popular culture and current affair and she often brings her own feminist slant to the topics.
Groskop is also the author of several books including; The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature and How to Own the Room. In March 2020, the Women’s Prize for Fiction judge will also be releasing new book entitled Lift as You Climb: Women and the Art of Ambition.
Paula Hawkins is an award-winning Zimbabwe-born, British author, best known for her best-selling phycological thriller novel, The Girl on the Train. The novel which deal with themes of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, and murder was adapted into a film, starring Emily Blunt, in 2016.
Hawkins’ latest novel, Into the Water, which was published in 2017 is the author’s second full-length thriller, following in the successful footsteps of The Girl on the Train. The book won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Mystery & Thriller in 2017, as voted by readers themselves.
The 2020 Women’s Prize for fiction longlist will be announced in March, the shortlist in April and the overall winner will be announced in June. Until then, why not catch up on the Women’s Prize podcast for more content about brilliant female written novels!
Melanie Eusebe is a British author and entrepreneur who is known for co-founding the Black British Business Awards in 2014. She has written for publications including; The Huffington Post and Management Today. Eusebe also serves of the boards of the Creative Industries Federation and she teaches as a professor at the Hult International Business School in London.
The 2020 Women’s Prize for fiction longlist, as chosen by these judges will be announced in March, the shortlist in April and the overall winner will be announced in June. Until then, why not catch up on the Women’s Prize podcast for more content about brilliant female written novels!