Judging

Every year, a panel of five women, all passionate readers and at the top of their respective professions, choose the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The whole process starts early autumn of the previous year. We invite UK publishers to submit eligible books, while the Prize Director (Harriet Hastings) approaches potential judges.

Judges are appointed by the end of the year and plunge immediately into reading their allotted books, before meeting to decide the longlist, the shortlist and — shortly before the Award Ceremony — the winner.

The judges are given the key criteria for the Prize — accessibility, originality and excellence in writing by women. They are asked to forget about reviews, publicity spends, an author’s previous reputation, the sense of ‘who deserves it’ and choose simply on the basis of novels that inspire them, move them, make them think – and that they admire and enjoy!

Our 2021 judges are Bernardine Evaristo (Chair), Elizabeth Day, Vick Hope, Nesrine Malik and Sarah-Jane Mee. Read more about them here.

You can find all of our previous judges here.