Women’s Prize for Fiction Board
The Women’s Prize for Fiction Ltd is a private company limited by guarantee. The Board is made up of Joanna Prior (Chair), Harriet Hastings (Managing Director), Felicity Blunt (Company Secretary), Annie Coleman, Hannah Griffiths, Karen Jones, Louise Jury, Martha Lane Fox, Nicola Mendelsohn and Arzu Tahsin. Together they are responsible for the overall management and direction of the Prize and the sponsorship arrangements.
The registered address is: Women’s Prize for Fiction Ltd, Watchmaker Court, 33 St John’s Lane, London EC1M 4DB.
Joanna Prior (Chair)
Joanna Prior is Managing Director of Penguin General Books, one of seven adult publishing divisions at Penguin Random House. The division comprises Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Portfolio, Fig Tree, Penguin Life and Penguin Ireland imprints and is home to authors as varied as Clare Balding, Anthony Beevor, Alain de Botton, Nick Hornby, John le Carré, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith and Colm Tóibín. Joanna joined Penguin in 1998 as marketing and publicity director. Before this, Joanna held the same role at Fourth Estate and was briefly editor of the Sunday Telegraph magazine.
Joanna is President of The Publishers Association, past chair of the Trade Publishing Council and was Chair of World Book Day in 2012. She is now Chair of the PA’s Reading for Pleasure committee and is a Trustee of the National Literacy Trust. She is also a founding member of the Reading Partners steering committee, the industry consortium working with libraries. She has been a board member for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction since 2012 and took over as Chair in January 2016.
Felicity Blunt (Company Secretary)
Felicity Blunt is a literary agent at Curtis Brown and is always on the lookout for debut authors to work with. She represents authors across a number of genres in fiction including historical, psychological suspense and literary. They include Rosamund Lupton, Renee Knight, Tamar Cohen and the Estate of Daphne du Maurier. She joined the board in 2012.
Annie has over 30 years experience of branding, marketing, employee engagement and culture change. She currently works as the Global Head of Culture and Client Marketing for UBS Investment Bank. Prior to this, Annie ran her own marketing consulting firm, AlphaPerformance with clients that included London 2012, helping to jump start a culture for the organising committee of the Olympics and Paralympics Games and GAM, a specialist investment management firm. Annie’s career includes eight years with Goldman Sachs, the global investment bank, where she was the European Director of Brand Marketing and Communications. Prior to Goldman Sachs, Annie worked in a number of senior communication roles including organisations such as BP; the MOD, the Prime Minsters Press Office; and The London Stock Exchange. She is also an experienced coach and mentor having trained with The Performance Consultants and The Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring.
Hannah Griffiths worked in publishing for over twenty years, as an agent then an editor at Faber and Faber. Her list included two Baileys winners – Barbara Kingsolver and Eimear McBride – as well as other award-winning writers including Miriam Toews, Max Porter, Emma Brockes and Stewart Lee. In 2016, she joined All3Media, the UK’s largest independent TV production company as Head of Literary Acquisitions, finding books and writers for the many production companies in the group.
Harriet Hastings (Managing Director)
Harriet has worked with the Women’s Prize for Fiction since its launch, originally directing the prize’s publicity and marketing and becoming Prize Director in 2006. She spent five years working in publishing and the next ten as consumer brands director of a top 20 UK PR agency. She founded her own retail business www.biscuiteers.com in 2007. In 2014 she was awarded a Specsavers Everywoman Retail Ambassador award and the Investec Food & Drink Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Until January 2006, Karen was CEO of Spirit Group Ltd, a private equity backed 2000 strong pub & restaurant group which was built up from the acquisition of Allied Domecq Ltd in 1999, and the subsequent successful acquisition and integration of the 1,500-strong estate of Scottish and Newcastle Retail in November 2003. Karen sold Spirit for £2.7bn to Punch Taverns in January 2006. Prior to Spirit, Karen founded, grew and floated Café Rouge and The Pelican Group Plc, which she sold to Whitbread in July 1996. Karen has now started another hospitality company in London, Food and Fuel Ltd which currently consists of thirteen gastropubs and cafe-bars. She is also holds significant stakes in Fernandez and Wells and The Good Life Eatery.
Karen is a Non Executive Director of Booker Plc, COFRA ag, Firmenich International (both Cofra and Firmenich are based in Switzerland) and Corbin & King Restaurants Ltd. She is Chairman of Hawksmoor, a London-based group of steak restaurants backed by Private Equity. Karen chairs Remco at Booker, Cofra and Firmenich and Chairs the Firmenich Audit Committee. She has previously been a non-executive director for ASOS plc, emap plc, HBOS plc, Gondola Holdings plc and Virgin Active Ltd, and chaired Remco in each case. In terms of pro bono work, she is on the Board of National Theatre Enterprises Ltd.and was a Governor of Ashridge Business School until January 2015, when it merged with Hult. Karen was awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to hospitality and in 2013 received an honorary Doctorate from UEA. She joined the Board in 2012.
Louise Jury is Director of Communications and Strategy and part of the senior management team of the Creative Industries Federation – the not-for-profit membership body for all the UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education. She joined the Federation in the summer of 2015 after a career in journalism. She was Chief Arts Correspondent of the London Evening Standard and Arts and Media Correspondent of The Independent and Independent on Sunday having previously campaigned on issues including Third World debt, Nazi gold and the National Blood Service. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts in 2001. For Christian Aid, she co-authored a report, ‘Millennium Lottery: who lives, who dies, in an age of Third World debt?’
Martha Lane Fox
Martha is founder and executive chair of doteveryone.org.uk. Doteveryone is the first public value creating organisation dedicated to making Britain brilliant in the networked age. Initially, it is focusing on three key areas gender balance, digital leadership and building prototypes for public services. Martha was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in March 2013. She is also chair of Go On UK, a coalition of public and private sector partners that are helping millions more people and organisations online. In March 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. Martha co-founded and chairs LuckyVoice, revolutionising the karaoke industry. She is a Non-Executive Director at Marks & Spencer and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2015 Martha joined the board of the Creative Industries Federation, the Scale up institute and the Open Data Institute. In 2007 Martha founded her own charitable foundation Antigone.org.uk and also serves as a Patron of AbilityNet, Reprieve, Camfed and Just for Kids Law. In 2013 Martha was awarded a CBE. Martha Lane Fox co-founded Europe’s largest travel and leisure website lastminute.com with Brent Hoberman in 1998, they took it public in 2000 and sold it in 2005.
Nicola Mendelsohn joined Facebook in June 2013 as Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, overseeing Facebook’s business activities for the EMEA region. Previously she was Executive Chairman at the advertising agency Karmarama. She is the co-chair of the Creative Industries Council a joint forum between the creative industries and Government. In 2015, Nicola was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition for her services to the creative industry. Prior to Karmarama, Nicola was the Deputy Chairman of Grey London and a Board Director at BBH. Previous roles include being the first woman President of the IPA, Director of the Fragrance Foundation, a board member of CEW, Trustee of the White Ribbon Alliance and Corporate chair of Women’s Aid. Nicola serves as Non-Executive Board Director for Diageo and is Director of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Arzu Tahsin has worked in publishing for over twenty-five years and has enjoyed roles at Virago, Vintage and Bloomsbury, publishing notable bestsellers such as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht, winner of the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. She is currently Publishing Director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the literary imprint of Orion. W&N won Imprint of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in 2015.
Women’s Prize for Fiction Advisory Council
Formed in 2016, as part of the 21st anniversary of the Prize, the Advisory Council is comprised of former Women’s Prize for Fiction Board members, who continue to use their publishing knowledge and experience of the Prize to support the Board and ensure the long-term health of the Prize. The Advisory Council includes Clare Alexander (1998-2015), Jane Gregory (Co-Founder & Company Secretary 1992 – 2015), Kate Mosse (Co-Founder & Chair of the Board 1992 – 2015), Susan Sandon (1994-2015) and Carole Welch (2002-2015).
Co-Founder, Prize Spokesperson & former Chair of the WPfF Board, Kate is the author of seven novels, four of non-fiction, four plays and a collection of short stories. Her No 1 bestselling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre andCitadel – has sold millions of copies throughout the world, as has her Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, for which she is writing the film adaptations. Her plays include Syrinx and The Queen of Jerusalem. She is currently working on a new series of novels, The Burning Chambers Trilogy – set during the French Wars of Religion in the 16th century, the first of which will be published by Macmillan in 2018.
Kate is the Deputy Chair of the National Theatre in London, on the Executive Committee of Women of the World and is Patron of the Sussex-based early music ensemble, The Consort of Twelve. In 2012 Kate was awarded the ‘Spirit of Everywoman’ for her work promoting writing by women, was named in 2015 by The Bookseller as one of the fifty most influential people in publishing. In 2013, she was awarded an OBE for services to literature and to women.
Clare Alexander has been on the Board of the Women’s Prize since 1997. She is a literary agent at Aitken Alexander Associates. She became an agent in 1998 after more than 20 years as a publisher, latterly as Publisher of Viking and Editor-in-chief of Macmillan. She was vice president of the Association of Authors’ Agents from 2004 – 2006 and president 2006 – 2008. She was named Orion Publishing Group Literary Agent of the Year at the 2007 British Book Industry Awards and was awarded the 2008 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which honours outstanding achievements by women in publishing. She is on the Advisory Committee for the Cheltenham Festival.
Co-founder, with Kate Mosse, of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Jane was Company Secretary of the Board from 1996 – 2015. Jane set up and continues to run her own literary agency, Gregory and Company Authors’ Agents, where she manages the careers of many high profile and bestselling authors, whilst constantly on the look-out for new talent to discover and nurture. Jane is also the co-founder and on the programming committee of The Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate.
Prize co-founder Susan Sandon started her publishing career at Headline Books and worked at both Virago Press and Penguin before joining Random House as Group Marketing Director. During this period she initiated contact with Orange, the first sponsors for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is currently Managing Director of Cornerstone, a division of Penguin Random House.
Carole Welch began her career in publishing at Souvenir Press, then worked at Macmillan before joining Hodder & Stoughton as Publicity Manager. In 1989, she became Senior Editor of Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton’s literary imprint, and is now Publishing Director of Sceptre. She joined the board in 2002.