Your Non-Fiction Recommendations

After announcing our plans to find sponsorship to launch the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction, we have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from readers and authors alike.

We have loved seeing you all join in the discussion across our platforms, jumping to recommend your favourite non-fiction books by women. There was only one thing to do – create a book list made up of brilliantly researched and fascinating non-fiction reads by women and share it here.

Spanning many genres, these are books that have shifted your perspective, made you feel seen or given you insight into our strange world. Scroll on to see your fantastic recommendations and maybe (definitely) add a few to your TBR.

These have been loosely categorised below, as they so often fit in more than one category, and we will be updating this list as we hear from you!


Red Comet by Heather Clark

‘One of my favourites.’ – reader review

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

‘If you are looking for a powerful book, that blends true crime and one that’s rich in historical detail, this is for you.’ – reader review

Ethel Rosenberg by Anne Sebba

‘Very interesting book that evoked many different emotions for me. I definitely want to read and learn more about this case.’ – reader review

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

‘Paints a balanced picture of events where race, patriarchal medical professionals, business, profit and family all play a part.’ – reader review


Becoming by Michelle Obama

‘It was beautiful, emotional, I smiled and I cried. I LOVE HER.’ – reader review

I am an Island by Tamsin Calidas

‘Fabulous memoir of escaping to the Outer Hebrides to Croft , the challenges and her survival!’ – reader review

The Electricity of Every Living Thing by Katherine May

‘This book felt like home for many reasons.’ – reader review

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

‘Reveals the upbringing of a remarkable American woman. A courageous glimpse into Angelou’s life.’ – reader review

How to Fail by Elizabeth Day

‘This book is wise and brave and honest. It made me laugh and cry.’ – reader review

We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

‘Funny as hell, raw, and smart just like the woman herself.’ – reader review

I will always write back by Caitlin Alifirenka

‘I seriously could not put this book down.’ – reader review

In Search of Mary by Bee Rowlatt

‘As you would expect when Mary Wollstonecraft is under consideration there is a lot that can be discussed!’ – reader review

Social & Cultural History

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

‘The perfect book for book and library lovers.’ – reader review 

Mudlarking by Lara Maiklems

‘Has really stayed with me, absolutely fascinating.’ – reader review

The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris

‘Ghastly, but fascinating!’ – reader review

Where are the Women? by Sara Sheridan

‘Really altered my outlook’ – reader review

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

‘Fascinating, frustrating, and utterly absorbing’ – reader review

When the Dust Settles by Lucy Easthope

‘A non-fiction book full of heart.’ – reader review


These Truths by Jill Lepore

‘This is a very timely book that will appeal to large numbers of readers looking for a fresh look at the history of the American people and the challenges that we face today.’ – reader review

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

‘Gem of a book and a jewel detailing an often overlooked era of American history’ – reader review

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

‘It evoked such emotion with the details it revealed throughout and was both highly readable and thrilling.’ – reader review

The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts

‘A brave and creatively romantic lens through which to view the Russian landscape, its triumphs and flaws.’ – reader review

Blood and Iron by Katja Hoyer

‘The book was so engaging that I couldn’t put it down and finished it within two days.’

The Siege of Loyalty House by Jessie Childs

‘Cannot recommend it highly enough’ – reader review

The Light of Days by Judy Batalion

‘Phenomenally researched’ – reader review

Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin

‘A good and interesting read and an impressive feat of research.’ – reader review

Equality & Civil Rights

Difficult Women by Helen Lewis

‘Brilliant book that will say with me forever’ – reader review

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

‘Absolute game-changer. I defy any reader not to gasp and swear out loud in horror at some of Criado-Pérez’s findings.’ – reader review

The Wrath to Come by Sarah Churchwell

‘The best book on racial politics in the US that I’ve read recently. Highly recommended’ – reader review

One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson

‘Her language is straightforward, her argument well developed and terrifying in its implications.’ – reader review

Nature & Natural History

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

‘My absolute favorite book, I LOVE THIS BOOK’ – reader review

Wilding by Isabella Tree

‘There probably isn’t any higher praise for ‘Wilding’ than to say that, upon finishing it, I wholeheartedly wished I could buy a farm and let it turn into a wildlife haven.’ – reader review

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

‘For a pretty grim topic, The Sixth Extinction is quite entertaining. This is science writing at its most accessible.’ – reader review

Rooted by Sarah Langford

‘Fascinating book on organic farming and food production. Well worth reading. Very easy’ – reader review

The Human Condition

It’s All In Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan

‘Really interesting and informative.’ – reader review

The Red of My Blood by Clover Stroud

‘Absolutely beautiful, so poetic and lyric. Moving and sincere and magical.’ – reader review

The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde

‘I was floored by the book and read it multiple times in the short span of time’ – reader review

All That Remains by Sue Black

‘There’s so much in here that I felt Professor Black only touched the surface of what she could show and teach us, and I really hope she wants to write more for the public sometime soon.’ – reader review

Wintering by Katherine May

‘May writes well, lyrically, confidentially, quietly drawing you in to her message.’ – reader review

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

‘It’s written in a witty and wry way and never judgemental. Interesting and very relevant.’ – reader review

How to be Sad by Helen Russell

‘A book about how we can all get happier by learning to be sad, better.’ – reader review

Did we miss your favourite non-fiction book or author? Do you have a favourite genre of non-fiction? Head over to our social channels and let us know!

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.