BERNARDINE EVARISTO TO CHAIR WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021

 

  • Chaired by Bernardine Evaristo, award-winning novelist
  • Panel includes Vick Hope, Elizabeth Day, Nesrine Malik and Sarah-Jane Mee
  • Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 Winner to be announced: Wednesday 16 June 2021

London, Wednesday 21 October 2020: The judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 – the UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman – are announced today.

Chair of Judges, Bernardine Evaristo, is joined by Vick Hope, TV and Radio presenter, journalist and writer; Elizabeth Day, podcaster, author and journalist; Nesrine Malik, print columnist and writer; and Sarah-Jane Mee, news presenter and broadcaster.

‘The Women’s Prize for Fiction is such an essential and exciting prize,’ commented Bernardine Evaristo.‘I’m looking forward to chairing it this year, and to discovering a wide range of novels that will give me a strong sense of the preoccupations, styles and aesthetics of contemporary women’s fiction. I hope to be blown away by some exceptional novels and to discover some hidden gems that deserve moreattention and a wider readership.’

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. The Prize championsexcellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing, and the winner receives a cheque for £30,000, anonymously endowed, along with a limited edition bronze statuette known as the ‘Bessie’,created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.

Further information about the Prize, its anniversary year, the judging process and selection criteria can be found at womensprizeforfiction.co.uk. A group photo and a 1 minute video of the 2021 judges can be downloaded here. Photos should be credited to: ‘Sam Holden Agency for the Women’s Prize for Fiction’.

For more information, please contact: Christian Lewis: christian@womensprizeforfiction.co.uk

WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021: JUDGES’ BIOGRAPHIES

Bernardine Evaristo OBE, award-winning novelist (chair)

Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning author of eight books and numerous other works that span the genres of novels, poetry, verse fiction, short fiction, essays, literary criticism, and radio and theatre drama. Her writing and projects are based around her interest in the African diaspora. Bernardine won the Booker Prize 2019 with her most recent novel Girl, Woman, Other, and became the first black woman and black British person to win it. In 2020 she was awarded the British Book Award’s Author of the Year and Fiction Book of the Year, and the Independent Book Award for Fiction. The novel has been nominated for many other awards including the 2020 Women’s Prize shortlist. It was also a #1 Sunday Times bestseller for five weeks and she was the first woman of colour to achieve this position in the paperback fiction chart. The novel has currently spent 38 weeks in the Top 10 hardback and paperback fiction charts.

Bernardine was chosen as one of the Vogue 25 list of Britain’s most influential women for 2020, and votedone of 100 Great Black Britons in 2020. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List thisOctober, replacing the MBE she received in 2009. As a literary activist, Bernardine has set up many successful arts inclusion projects including the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (2012-) and The Complete Works poetry mentoring scheme (2007-2017). She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. www.bevaristo.com

Vick Hope, TV and Radio presenter, journalist and writer

Vick, a Nigerian-Geordie with a Cambridge degree, is a multilingual award-winning TV and radiopresenter,journalistandchildren’sauthor. Shebeganhercareeraged19,livinginArgentinaandwriting for The Argentina Independent as their youngest ever journalist. Vick quickly caught the attention of MTV where she landed her first broadcasting job.

Going on to cement her status as one of the UK’s most promising female broadcast talents, Vick presented London’s biggest breakfast show on Capital FM with Roman Kemp for three years and is now co-presenter of BBC Radio 1 Life Hacks and The Official Chart: First Look. Away from radio, Vick competed on the BAFTA-winning series, Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 and has hosted 4Musics Back To Mine, The X Factor’s Xtra Bites, Shipwrecked and the official BAFTAs live stream. She is the new host on CITV hit legacy show, HOW and ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…The Daily Drop. Vick is currently co-writing the children’s book sequel to Listen Up: Rule the Airwaves, Rule the School which will be released early next year. Alongside her media and writing work, Vick is a human rights activist and campaigner, and in 2020 she became an Amnesty International UK Ambassador.

Elizabeth Day, podcaster, author and journalist

Elizabeth Day’s chart-topping podcast, How To Fail , a celebration of the things that haven’t gone right, has seen her credited for ‘revolutionising the way we see failure’ (Stylist). It has inspired two non- fiction books, How To Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong (2019) which became a bestseller and Failosophy: A Handbook for When Things Go Wrong (2020). The books have been optioned for TV, with Elizabeth currently writing the scripts. In 2019 Elizabeth’s ‘How to Fail’ live tours attracted sell-out audiences in prestigious venues across the UK.

Elizabeth has also published four novels. Her debut, Scissors, Paper, Stone, won a Betty Trask Award. Her follow-up, Home Fires, was an Observer Book of the Year, and Paradise City was named one of the best novels of 2015 in the Observer and the Evening Standard. Elizabeth’s most recent work of fiction, The Party, became an Amazon bestseller and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. As a journalist, Elizabeth has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine, and has been a feature writer for numerous publications in the UK and US. She is also currently a contributing editor for Harper’s Bazaar.

Nesrine Malik, journalist and author

Nesrine Malik is a British-Sudanese columnist and features writer for The Guardian. She was born in Sudan and grew up in Kenya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She received her undergraduate education at the American University in Cairo and University of Khartoum, and her post graduate education at the University of London. She was named Society and Diversity Commentator of the Year at the 2017

Comment Awards and in 2019 the Orwell Foundation longlisted Nesrine for the Orwell Prize for her work on Britain’s ‘social evils’. In 2019 she was also shortlisted as ‘Comment Journalist of the Year’ at the British Journalism Awards, and published We Need New Stories, a polemic which examines the foundational myths at the centre of current culture wars.

Sarah-Jane Mee, news presenter and broadcaster

Sarah-Jane Mee is a Sky News presenter and the anchor of The Sarah-Jane Mee Show which broadcasts weekdays on Sky News. From 2016 until 2019, she anchored Sunrise, Sky’s weekday breakfast show, where she covered a number of significant breaking news stories including the 2016 Brussels Terror Attack, for which her Sky News team won an RTS Award. Sarah-Jane was also part of the team covering the 2016 US Election on location in New York and Washington and delivered the news of Donald Trump’s victory. More recently she has been covering the coronavirus global pandemic.

A huge sports fan, Sarah-Jane was live on location as Leicester City made history winning the Premier League title overcoming odds of 2,500-1 and previously worked with Sky Sports on programmes such as Saturday Night Football and Cricket AM. Sarah-Jane also completed the first stage of the Tour de France as part of a Sky documentary Riding The Dales. In her earlier career, she enjoyed success at ITV News, Heart FM and the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio.

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