Kate Mosse: ‘There was this idea that women weren’t quite experts’

Exciting times here at the Women’s Prize as we announce our intention to launch a new annual prize, the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction! On this week’s special episode following the announcement, best-selling author and Founder Director of the Women’s Prize Kate Mosse joins host Vick Hope to discuss her five most influential reads. Listen in as Kate and Vick discuss reading Toni Morrison for the first time, the staples of a good gothic story and why now more than ever, we need to uplift women’s non-fiction voices. You can listen to the episode in full here.

The Bluest Eye

Nobel prize-winning author of Beloved, Toni Morrison’s debut novel immerses us in the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family…

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‘This book more than any book I’ve ever read, tells you what racism actually is. It’s the idea that a child cannot make sense of the world. She knows it’s unfair and her life is brutal and difficult. She looks at this pretty white girl with blond hair and blue eyes. And rather than think, well, it’s because there is structural racism, and the world is not set up fairly… She simply thinks in the purity and innocence of a child mind, if I looked like that my life would be fine. And actually, that’s it.’


One of the best-known Gothic novels, Frankenstein is both a haunting, uncanny novel about the dangers and temptations of scientific progress and…

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Creature is not this evil monster to begin with. The creature just wants to belong, wants to be like everybody else and wants to be loved and love in return. And it’s only when Creature realises that everybody thinks he’s monstrous, that the thing that keeps the world sane and wonderful, that’s to say love, will be denied to him that he goes wild and runs amok. And that is what is so significant that this is a book about what happens if you withhold love.’

Diving into the Wreck

“I came to explore the wreck. / The words are purposes. / The words are maps. / I came to…

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‘I think [Rich] has a beauty of language, that in three or four words, can pick you up from where you are, and set you down in a completely different time and place, you know, the texture, the grit, the heat, the cold, the environment that she wants you to be in.’

Sleeping Murder

The owner of a seaside villa is plagued by strange feelings about its past… Soon after Gwenda moved into her…

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‘It’s the perfect crime novel. For people who have not read any Miss Marple. You’ve got to read this one first. Then you read all the others because she’s a genius, but just start with this one. It’s got everything that you need. It’s got Jeopardy. It’s got classical illusion, it’s got memory. It’s got a sense of a lost England, and a brilliant, brilliant and awful crime at the heart of it.’

This Is Not A Pity Memoir

One morning in June, Abi had her to-do list – drop the kids to school, get coffee and go to…

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‘What Morgan does, which I think is really exceptional in a memoir like this, is that she puts everything down on the page. So she doesn’t glamorise herself. And she doesn’t glamorise the situation, every mistake that she thinks she made, in how she dealt with everything she puts on the page, she has a very harsh critic of herself. But what she does for all of us is to say, this is what real life is like.’

Want to learn more about the new Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction? Get all the details here.

To learn more about Kate Mosse’s Bookshelfie choices, listen to the full episode here and purchase her amazing picks on our Bookshop.org shop. Want more great episodes like this one? Explore the rest of this season for brilliant book recommendations from guests, including award-winning actress Gillian Anderson and broadcasting legend Cherry Healey, and hit subscribe to be the first to know when the next episode drops.

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.