Q&A with Muriel Gray, 2007 Chair

Today is the second day in 2 weeks of Woman’s Hour coverage of our 20th anniversary. This morning 2007 Chair of Judges Muriel Gray takes to the airwaves to discuss her year’s winning novel Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

We caught up with Muriel before her interview to chat women writers, chairing literary prizes and more.

What did you most enjoy about Chairing the Prize?

Hard to choose best part of chairing, but up there at the top of the list of many was the chance to read so many diverse works by authors I hadn’t come across, and then get the chance for really intense and fascinating discussions about them with amazing women judges. A dream date really.

What progress would you like to see for women in the next twenty years?​

Would like to see women’s writing presented with considerably more respect in the next twenty years, and for women to feel bold and comfortable enough as writers to tackle every and any subject without that unconscious self-censoring that we seem to have taught ourselves.  We are writers. When we write we can be anyone or anything and be anywhere we wish

Can you name a book written by a woman that has changed your life?​ ​

So many women writers affected my life there are far too many to mention, from Edith Nesbit whom I worshiped as a child (and still do) to Toni Morrison, Shirley Jackson,  Emily Bronte,  Margaret Atwood, Virginnia Woolf, Anne Rice,  one could go on all day. So I can’t possibly choose one. They all changed little bits of me, in so many different ways. That’s the beauty of great writing.

Did you miss Muriel’s interview? Don’t worry – catch up here. Muriel champions Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun from 19 minutes in.

Plus don’t forget to cast your vote for the book you think is the ‘Best of the Best’ Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner of the last decade in the Woman’s Hour vote.