Women’s Prize-winners Recommend…

We are very lucky at the Women’s Prize to have a family of authors who not only write magnificent books but champion the works of others. Here are a few of the books that some of our Women’s Prize-winning authors have read and recommended. 

Barbara Kingsolver recommends: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

‘I can remember exactly where I was, when I read it. And why it had such an effect on me. I was nine years old. I was in the back of a station wagon. And I disappeared into that book. I was in another world I was I was well, let’s face it. I was Jo March, don’t we all want to be Jo March.’


Ruth Ozeki recommends: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

‘When I finally got to the end of the book […] I didn’t want to leave the world and even now, when I think about it, I’m not even sure why exactly, but I just get choked up. It’s a very emotional book for me. And I kind of understand why; there’s something so amazing about the narrative voice, Piranesi’s voice, it’s just exquisitely naive, and trusting and honest, and guileless, and completely unironic.’


Maggie O’ Farrell recommends: Good Behavior by Molly Keane

‘Molly Keane is an astonishingly gifted writer of tragedy and also comedy and the fusion of the two … It’s such a strange and peculiar world, but she leads the reader into it by the hand. It’s a world of massive hypocrisy and also just emotional suppression, emotional illiteracy.’


Kamila Shamsie recommends: Meatless Days by Sara Suleri

‘In a broad sense, you could say Meatless Days is a book about what people do to our lives by being in them. But if you dig deep down, it’s a book about what people do to our lives by ceasing to be in them. The deaths of Suleri’s mother and sister – both killed in distressingly similar ways, two years apart – form the heart of the book. Her sister’s death in particular gives rise to some of the more heart-shaking writing about love and grief I’ve ever read.’


Madeline Miller recommends: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

‘I loved the psychological realism … the relationships between the mothers and daughters were so beautifully drawn, so razor sharp … [Tan] isn’t afraid to show us the complexity of their difficulty, their trauma, but also this warmth and this real understanding and empathy for their life.’


How many of these recommended books have you read? What was the last book you pressed into the hands of a friend? Let us know, over on your social network of choice.

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.