A Q&A with Margaret Mountford

We caught up with this year’s Chair of Judges Margaret Mountford to ask her all about the judging process so far, what her criteria is for a Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winning book and why it’s still important to highlight the achievements of women in literature.

What are you looking for in a winning book?

I think a winning book should be one that you want to finish but want not to end; one that you want to read for the writing or style, not just the content; one where the characters are well formed and credible.

If you had to use three words to summarise the judging of the Prize so far, what would they be?

Interesting, stimulating and thought-provoking.

Why do you think the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is important?

I think it is important that good, well-written fiction (whether written by men or women) gets the publicity it deserves, to encourage a wider readership particularly among readers of the opposite sex.  It seems that this has not always happened in the past for books written by women and I think this prize helps to remedy that.

If you could only have three books on your bookshelf, what would they be?

The Bible, the Iliad (in a Greek and English version) and a good encyclopaedia.

Want to find out more about this year’s brilliant panel of judges? Head to our 2016 judges section to find out about the inspiring women heading up the 2016 judging panel of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.