Recommended Reads for men

Did you know that most men simply don’t read books by women?

This was the surprising fact discovered by Mary Ann Sieghart in her bestselling book The Authority Gap. Her research was based on the top ten bestselling female fiction authors including the likes of Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood and Agatha Christie — only 19% of their readers are men and 81% women. But for the top 10 bestselling male authors (who include Dickens and Tolkien, as well as Lee Child and Stephen King), the split in readers is much more even: 55% men and 45% women.

Put simply, women are prepared to read novels by men, but men are much more reluctant to pick up novels by women. The Women’s Prize would like to change that.

We have been asking our past judges and friends of the prize to recommend one brilliant novel written by a woman. From crime to classics, thrillers to fantasy, there’s a fantastic read here for everyone, all of which you can buy at our partner whilst supporting independent booksellers.

All nominated books:

  1. Singin’ Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry like Christmas by Maya Angelou (nominated by Moses McKenzie ♂)
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (nominated by Laura Bates ♀)
  3. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (nominated by Rob Doyle ♂)
  4. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (nominated by Natalie Haynes ♀)
  5. Regeneration by Pat Barker (nominated by Paula Hawkins ♀and Blake Morrison ♂)
  6. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (nominated by Bernardine Evaristo ♀)
  7. We Had To Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets (nominated by Ian McEwan ♂)
  8. Villette by Charlotte Brontë (nominated by Chris Powers ♂)
  9. Dawn by Octavia Butler (nominated by Scarlett Curtis♀)
  10. Possession by A.S. Byatt (nominated by William Dalrymple ♂)
  11. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter (nominated by Polly Toynbee ♀)
  12. Cherí by Colette (nominated by Adam Thirlwell ♂)
  13. The Outline Trilogy by Rachel Cusk (nominated by Ardal O’Hanlon ♂)
  14. The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward (nominated by Derek Owusu ♂)
  15. Magpie by Elizabeth Day (nominated by Stanley Tucci ♂)
  16. Don’t Look Now: Selected stories by Daphne du Maurier (nominated by Simon Schama ♂)
  17. Rule Britannia by Daphne du Maurier (nominated by Nick Moran ♂)
  18. The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (nominated by Andrew Billen ♂)
  19. Middlemarch by George Elliot (nominated by Anthony Horowitz ♂, Mary Ann Sieghart ♀ Howard Jacobson ♂ and Polly Toynbee ♀)
  20. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (nominated by Lorraine Candy ♀)
  21. Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo (nominated by Mary Ann Sieghart ♀)
  22. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (nominated by Michael Donkor ♂)
  23. The Treatment by Mo Hayder (nominated by Mark Billingham ♂)
  24. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (nominated by Adam Rutherford ♂ and Anita Anand ♀)
  25. When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy (nominated by Catherine Mayer ♀)
  26. Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (nominated by Prof Gillian Beer ♀)
  27. After Midnight by Irmgard Keun (nominated by Muriel Gray ♀)
  28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (nominated by Simon Mayo ♂ and Grace Kempster ♀)
  29. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (nominated by Sanjeev Bhasker ♂ and Grace Kempster ♀)
  30. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin (nominated by Sarah Wood ♀)
  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller (nominated by Eric Huang, podcaster ♂)
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (nominated by Kate Mosse ♀)
  3. The Sea The Sea by Iris Murdoch (nominated by Justin Webb ♂)
  4. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (nominated by Vick Hope ♀)
  5. My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (nominated by Chris Power ♂)
  6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (nominated by Stuart Turton ♂)
  7. Bonjour Tristesse by Francois Sagan (nominated by Alex Shulman ♀)
  8. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers (nominated by Stig Abell ♂)
  9. Ten Minutes, 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak (nominated by Peter Frankopan ♂)
  10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (nominated by Grace Kempster♀)
  11. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (nominated by Cathy Newman ♀)
  12. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (nominated by Prof Kate Williams ♀)
  13. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (nominated by Charlie Connelly ♂)
  14. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (nominated by Robert Williams ♂)
  15. The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter (nominated by Lee Child ♂)
  16. Companion Piece by Ali Smith (nominated by Andrew Marr ♂)
  17. Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe (nominated by Helen Lederer ♀)
  18. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (nominated by Alexander Armstrong ♂)
  19. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (nominated by Tracy Chevalier ♀ and Richard Curtis ♂)
  20. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (nominated by Krishnan Guru-Murthy ♂)
  21. Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (nominated by Lisa Appignanesi ♀)
  22. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend (nominated by John Boyne ♂)
  23. The Road Home by Rose Tremain (nominated by Bel Mooney ♀)
  24. Becoming Unbecoming by Una (nominated by Joanne Harris ♀)
  25. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (nominated by Felix Mosse ♂ and Edith Bowman ♀)
  26. Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer (nominated by Sam Baker ♀)
  27. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (nominated by Salman Rushdie ♂)
  28. Orlando by Virginia Woolf (nominated by Elif Shafak ♀)
  29. How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang (nominated by Okechukwu Nzelu ♂)
  30. Song of Soloman by Toni Morrison (nominated by Deborah Frances White ♀)

200,000 votes have been counted and the list has been whittled down to ten. Check out the 10 essential reads for men, by women now.

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.