The 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, Karen Jones, Louise Jury, Alison Barrow, Anna Rafferty and Sandeep Mahal. Kate Mosse attends the Board as the Prize’s Founder Director. 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.


Board Members

Joanna Prior (Chair)

Joanna Prior is Managing Director of Penguin General Books, one of seven adult publishing houses 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 Antony Beevor, William Boyd, Alain de Botton, Mohsin Hamid, John le Carré, Robert Macfarlane, Elif Shafak, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Colm Tóibín and Ruby Wax. Joanna joined Penguin in 1998 as marketing and publicity director. Before this, she held the same role at Fourth Estate and was briefly editor of the Sunday Telegraph magazine.

Joanna is a past President of The Publishers Association, past chair of the Consumer 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 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.

Alison Barrow

A senior industry-respected entertainment and PR publishing professional, Alison is a multi award-winning book publicist with experience of launching writing careers, managing major figures and creating global brands. Alison has worked in UK publishing for 30 years,  establishing an unparalleled network of contacts across the industry, media and bookselling landscape.  Responsible for leading a team of publicists and developing and implementing creative, tailored and impactful cross-platform campaigns.

Annie Coleman

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.

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 Managing Director in 2006. She started her career in publishing– latterly as Marketing Director at Michael Joseph –  and the next ten as consumer brands director of a top 20 UK PR agency. She founded her own retail business in 2007. In 2014 she was awarded a Specsavers Everywoman Retail Ambassador award and the Investec Food & Drink Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Karen Jones

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, 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 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

Louise Jury is Director of Communications and Marketing for Creative Skillset, which develops skills and talent for the UK’s screen industries. In its critical start-up phase, she was previously Head of Strategic Communications for the Creative Industries Federation, an advocacy body for the creative industries.

For many years she covered the Women’s Prize for Fiction,as Chief Arts Correspondent of the London Evening Standard and Arts and Media Correspondent of The Independent (and Independent on Sunday). Other journalism included campaigns 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.

Sandeep Mahal

Sandeep Mahal is Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature. She is responsible for leading the company artistically and strategically and working with the highly skilled and dedicated team to make a difference to Nottingham’s arts and literature community. She spent ten years working in public libraries in Sandwell and seven years in the UK publishing environment, where she transformed the way UK publishers collaborated with the UK public library network.

She has staged all kinds of events with authors from Zadie Smith and Jarvis Cocker to Adele Parks and Neil Gaiman. In 2013, she was Director of The Space – a commissioning agency supporting greater digital access to the arts, co-funded by Arts Council England and the BBC. Sandeep is a trustee of Spread the Word and a Literary Consultant at Slam Films where she works with Slam’s creative team on all literary acquisitions. She has judged the Costa First Novel Award, the British Book Awards and the Fiction Uncovered Prize, and awarded the prestigious fellowship from the Clore Cultural Leadership Institute.

Anna Rafferty

Anna Rafferty is Global Director: Digital Marketing at BBC Worldwide.  She is tasked with developing the BBC’s direct-to-consumer offerings, leading the company’s short-form and social content production unit BBC Worldwide Digital Studios, driving the corporation’s reputation for digital innovation and editorially developing new IP.  She particularly works on the BBC’s global franchise brands including BBC Earth, Doctor Who, Top Gear and Children’s.

She joined BBC Worldwide from Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s digital publishing, e-commerce, entertainment and news company where she was Director of Product, Content and Creative.  Prior to Pottermore, Rafferty spent 11 years at Penguin Books where she was MD for its Digital Division. She worked with major talent and IP including Roald Dahl, Marian Keyes, Jamie Oliver, Stephen Fry and Penguin Classics, amongst many others.  She is also on the Ravensbourne Broadcast Advisory Board and is Chair of the Digital Arts and Heritage Charity Culture24, which programs and runs the Museums at Night festival and the Museum Crush website.

Syl Saller

Syl Saller is the Chief Marketing Officer for Diageo and a member of Diageo’s Executive Committee. Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business operating in 180 countries with a collection of over 400 brands including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness Syl oversees all Global Marketing, Design, Innovation, the Futures Group, and Reserve, Diageo’s luxury division, worldwide.
Before Syl was appointed CMO, she was Diageo’s Global Innovation Director, responsible for Diageo’s innovation strategy, including all new product development, launch programmes and R&D. Prior to that, she was Marketing Director for Diageo Great Britain.
Syl joined Diageo in 1999 from Allied Domecq Retail where she was Marketing Development Director. She started her career in brand management with Gillette, holding both US and global roles, before moving to the Holson Burnes Group, where she was general manager of the Holson Division.
Syl is President of the Marketing Society, a member of the 30 Club, the Marketing Group of Great Britain (MGGB), and Women in Advertising and Communications of London (WACL). She is consistently recognised by external organisations being named Marketer of the Year, one of the 500 Most Influential People in Britain, Forbes top 50 CMOs, and Ad Age’s Women to Watch. Syl has been a Non-Executive director of Domino’s Pizza Group plc where she chaired the Nominations committee and served on the RemCo.
Syl graduated summa cum laude from the University of New Hampshire and has an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She is married with two children.


Advisory Council

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).

Kate Mosse

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

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.

Jane Gregory

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.

Susan Sandon

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

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.

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