New Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction in UK seeks sponsorship
The UK hopes to have an important new award for writing by women – the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction – if further sponsorship can be found. The prize is organised by the Women’s Prize Trust, the charity which champions equity for women in the world of books and the body behind the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It is open to all genres of non-fiction writing by women writing in English who are published in the UK. The organisers hope it will go some way to addressing the gender imbalance in the coverage of women’s non-fiction writing.
The Women’s Prize Trust hopes to award the first prize in 2024.
The Charlotte Aitken Trust, a charity set up by the former literary agent Gillon Aitken on behalf of his late daughter, has generously awarded the £30,000 winner’s prize money for a three-year period. The winner will also receive a statuette named ‘the Charlotte’.
The Women’s Prize Trust is now seeking additional investments to further fund the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction.
The organisers say the impetus to launch the new prize was motivated by new research “which demonstrates a clear inequality in both consumer visibility (through media coverage and prize announcements) and author remuneration [for women writers]” The research showed that women’s writing was:
- Less likely to be reviewed in the UK national media: only 26.5% of non-fiction reviews in national newspapers was allocated to books by female writers, according to our analysis.
- Less likely to appear in the ‘Best Books of 2022’ newspaper articles: only 33.7% of the non-fiction books selected in 2022 were written by female writers.
- Less likely to be shortlisted, or win, non-fiction book prizes: only 35.5% of books awarded a non-fiction prize over the past ten years were written by a female writer, across seven UK non-fiction prizes
Kate Mosse, the Women’s Prize for Fiction Founder Director, novelist, non-fiction author and playwright, said: “This is an extremely exciting moment in the history of the Women’s Prize. Since we launched twenty-eight years ago, we have celebrated and amplified the voices of hundreds of amazing novelists, pressing their books into the hands of millions of readers. We are confident that our new non-fiction sister prize will do the same for those extraordinary non-fiction authors, many of whom do not receive the attention they deserve. The result is that readers are shortchanged. We are now seeking corporate partners open to joining our family of sponsors. Together, we can champion exceptional women’s narrative non-fiction on a global stage. This is the time to be bold.”
Among a range of supporters of the new prize, Professor Olivette Oteli, Historian and Professor at London’s School of African and Oriental Studies said: “The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction will provide an important and exciting space for many excellent writers who hadn’t had the opportunity until now to share their work. I warmly support this fantastic prize and know that it will be warmly welcomed by women from all backgrounds’