Q&A with Shami Chakrabarti

Today marks the final day of the BBC Woman’s Hour coverage of our 20th anniversary celebrations. The last Chair of Judges to take to the airwaves on BBC Radio 4 is Shami Chakrabarti, championing the 2015 winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction How to be both by Ali Smith. Be sure to tune in from 10am or listen online here.

Prior to this morning’s interview we spoke with Shami about fantasy book clubs, browsing bookshops and the book she’s currently recommending to everyone.

What did you most enjoy about Chairing the Prize?

It was a great honour to chair the Prize and play a part, however small, in redressing gender injustice through literature, a great love of mine. My fellow judges were like a fantasy book club. Sharing such brilliant and diverse stories with them was a joy.

Where and how do you pick up new books and recommendations? ​

You can’t beat browsing in a bookshop and chatting to booksellers plus recommendations from colleagues and friends. I try to avoid taking wine, flowers or chocolates to parties these days. I like to bring a book instead.

What was the last book you read that you would recommend to a friend?

The most recent book I’ve read is In Search of Mary: The Mother of all Journeys by Bee Rowlatt, and I’ve been very busy recommending it to anybody who will listen. It’s a brilliantly funny, poignant and important rediscovery of Mary Wollstonecraft, an incredible woman who was one of the first human rights campaigners.

Don’t miss Shami’s interview on BBC Woman’s Hour this morning on 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner How to be both by Ali Smith. Tune in from 10am or listen online here.