Every June, a panel of five women, all passionate readers and at the top of their respective professions, choose the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The whole process starts early autumn of the previous year. We invite UK publishers to submit eligible books, while the Prize Director (Harriet Hastings) approaches potential judges.

Judges are appointed by the end of the year and plunge immediately into reading their allotted books, before meeting to decide the longlist, the shortlist and — shortly before the Award Ceremony — the winner.

The judges are given the key criteria for the Prize – accessibility, originality and excellence in writing by women. They are asked to forget about reviews, publicity spends, an author’s previous reputation, the sense of ‘who deserves it’ and choose simply on the basis of novels that inspire them, move them, make them think – and that they admire and enjoy!



Previous judges:

2020 Judges

Martha Lane Fox (Chair), Melanie Eusebe, Viv Groskop, Paula Hawkins, Scarlett Curtis

2019 Judges

Professor Kate Williams (Chair), Arifa Akbar, Dolly Alderton, Leyla Hussein, Sarah Wood

2018 Judges

Sarah Sands (Chair), Anita Anand, Katy Brand, Catherine Mayer, Imogen Stubbs

2017 Judges

Tessa Ross (Chair), Sam Baker, Katie Derham, Aminatta Forna, Sara Pascoe,

2016 Judges

Margaret Mountford (Chair), Laurie Penny, Elif Shafak, Naga Munchetty, Tracey Thorn

2015 Judges

Shami Chakrabarti (Chair), Cathy Newman, Grace Dent, Helen Dunmore, Laura Bates

2014 Judges

Helen Fraser (Chair), Sophie Raworth, Caitlin Moran, Mary Beard OBE, Denise Mina

2013 Judges

Miranda Richardson (Chair), Razia Iqbal, Rachel Johnson, Jojo Moyes, Natasha Walter

2012 Judges

Joanna Trollope OBE (Chair), Lisa Appignanesi OBE, Victoria Derbyshire, Natalie Haynes, Natasha Kaplinsky

2011 Judges

Bettany Hughes (Chair), Liz Calder, Tracy Chevalier, Helen Lederer, Susanna Reid

2010 Judges

Daisy Goodwin (Chair), Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE, Michèle Roberts, Miranda Sawyer, Alexandra Shulman OBE

2009 Judges

Fi Glover (Chair), Bidisha, Sarah Churchwell, Kira Cochrane, Martha Lane Fox CBE

2008 Judges

Kirsty Lang (Chair), Lily Allen (withdrew for health reasons), Lisa Allardice, Philippa Gregory, Bel Mooney

2007 Judges

Muriel Gray (Chair), Kathryn Hughes, Maya Jaggi, Marian Keyes, Kate Saunders

2006 Judges

Martha Kearney (Chair), Jenny Eclair, Claire Fox, India Knight, Jacqueline WIlson DBE

2005 Judges

Jenni Murray DBE (Chair), Jo Brand, Joanne Harris MBE, Jude Kelly OBE, Moira Stuart OBE

2004 Judges

Sandi Toksvig OBE (Chair), Karen Cunningham, Baroness Helena Kennedy, Katharine Viner, Minette Walters

2003 Judges

Ahdaf Soueif (Chair), Sophie Dahl, Nicolette Jones, Annalena McAfee, Dr Margaret Reynolds

2002 Judges

Sue MacGregor CBE (Chair), Professor Gillian Beer DBE, A.L. Kennedy, Fiona Shaw CBE, Julie Wright

2001 Judges

Rosie Boycott (Chair), Kate Adie OBE, Rachel Holmes, Emily Perkins, Suzanne Vega

2000 Judges

Polly Toynbee (Chair), Amanda Foreman, Claire Beaumont, Bonnie Greer OBE, Ffion Hague

1999 Judges

Baroness Lola Young OBE (Chair), Mariella Frostrup, Nicci Gerrard, Ursula Owen, Honor Wilson-Fletcher MBE

1998 Judges

Sheena Macdonald (Chair), Grace Kempster, Bernice Rubens, Elaine Showalter, Erica Wagner

1997 Judges

Lisa Jardine CBE (Chair), Fiona Kennedy, Andrea Levy, Val McDermid, Allison Pearson

1996 Judges

Kate Mosse OBE (Chair), Val Hennessy, Susan Hill CBE, Margaret Lally, Lorna Sage