Leading women unite to launch #ThisBookClub from the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

  • Stars including Emily Blunt, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Mary Portas encourage book fans to come together with friends and talk about the novels they love
  • New #ThisBookClub campaign celebrates the diversity of modern day book clubs and showcases the power books and stories have to connect us
  • Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction publishes The Brilliant Woman’s Guide To A Very Modern Book Club featuring original articles from leading writers and reading notes to the 2015 Baileys Prize shortlisted books


The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only book award for fiction written by a woman, today announces #ThisBookClub; a campaign to celebrate the modern day book club and the myriad ways that novels can bring people together.

To launch the initiative, the Baileys Prize invited three pairs of inspirational women – actress Emily Blunt and her sister, literary agent Felicity Blunt; writer Janet Ellis and her daughter, the singer and songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor; and retail marketing consultant and television presenter Mary Portas and her wife, fashion editor Melanie Rickey – to reveal the novels written by women they most want to share with one another.

Their selections are designed to inspire book lovers across the nation to get together to talk about books and highlight the evolution of the traditional book club.

Literary agent Felicity Blunt selected Kate Atkinson’s bestseller Life After Life to share with her sister, celebrated actress, Emily Blunt. Speaking about why she made this choice and how the book resonated with her, Felicity said: “It’s a story of life’s infinite possibilities and the idea of many lives lived and [as an actress], my sister lives many lives!”

Emily Blunt chose A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, and commented: “I just felt like my hair was blown back by it. I believe that a great book can change your life in a way that I don’t think cinema can – a book can resonate with you in such a way, it shifts you forever”.

Fashion editor Melanie Rickey picked The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy to share with her wife, Mary Portas: “It has one of the very best first pages of a book, and I’ve re-read that first page so many times. It’s like you just dive in to another world. When you come out blinking, it’s like ‘am I actually here?”

Mary Portas selected Jeanette Winterson’s Written On The Body. Inspired by the writer’s fearlessness she commented: “I strive to push boundaries and to be fearless in that way, and I’m always trying to give that to Mel.

Presenter, writer and actress Janet Ellis chose The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway. Commenting on the power of novels, Janet said: “The best books are like falling through a portal into another world and you’re there.”

 Renowned singer songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor shared Emma Healey’s debut novel Elizabeth is Missing with her mother Janet. The book had been recommended to Sophie by her younger sister Martha and she in turn shared the “pacey, quirky and entertaining” read with her mother to connect the three women in the shared story.

To support the campaign, a series of portraits of the celebrity duos have been commissioned by eminent photographer Rebecca Miller as a visual record of their choices.

Novelist Kate Mosse, Co-founder and Chair of the Board of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction: “This is a wonderful way to bring together books and readers, to celebrate twenty fabulous years of the Prize and to share favourite novels, past and present, with friends, readers and writers.”

As part of the #ThisBookClub campaign, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has created The Brilliant Woman’s Guide to a Very Modern Book Club – a book club Guide featuring articles from leading writers, tips for making the most of even the most informal of book-inspired gatherings, and reading notes to the 2015 Baileys Prize shortlisted books.

A series of #ThisBookClub Live events will also take place across the country as part of the campaign. Kicking off in May, the events will take the form of literary-inspired quiz evenings celebrating women’s writing with teams competing to win copies of the Baileys Prize 2015 shortlisted books.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman. Now in its twentieth year*, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women from throughout the world.

Established in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman.  Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.

The winner of the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction will be announced on Wednesday 3rd June 2015.

For more information on #ThisBookClub, to view full interviews and portraits, to download The Brilliant Woman’s Guide to a Very Modern Book Club or for more information about the #ThisBookClubLive events, visit


For press enquiries, quotes and imagery from #ThisBookClub celebrities, please contact the team at freuds: / 0203 003 6300




  • The Brilliant Woman’s Guide to a Very Modern Book Club can be downloaded from
  • The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction #ThisBookClub events in partnership with All Bar One and Grazia will take place in Liverpool, Leeds and London in May. For further information and tickets, go to


BAILEYS Women’s Prize for Fiction


  • In June 2013, the prize announced a new three-year partnership with Baileys and from 2014 the prize has been known as the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
  • The Prize’s patrons are; Dame Gillian Beer DBE, Professor Lisa Jardine CBE, Jude Kelly CBE, Helena Kennedy Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC FRSA, Sue MacGregor CBE, Dame Jenni Murray DBE, Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE, Rosie Boycott, Liz Calder, Fi Glover, Daisy Goodwin, Muriel Gray, Bettany Hughes, Paula Kahn, Martha Kearney, Kirsty Lang, Sheena McDonald, Penny Perrick, Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE, Miranda Richardson, Gillian Shephard, Baroness Shephard of Northwold, Ahdaf Soueif, Sandi Toksvig OBE, Polly Toynbee and Joanna Trollope OBE.
  • The Prize’s board comprises of Kate Mosse OBE (Chair), Clare Alexander, Felicity Blunt, Jane Gregory (Company Secretary), Harriet Hastings (Managing Director), Karen Jones, Baroness Lane Fox of Soho, Nicola Mendelsohn, Joanna Prior and Carole Welch.
  • The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was known as the Orange Prize for Fiction between 1996 and 2012.





BAILEYS and the Prize share a mutual purpose, to celebrate brilliant women and their shared ambition is to bring the best women’s writing and female storytellers to ever-wider audiences.


In November this year, BAILEYS launched their latest campaign celebrating the power of female friendship and the great things that happen when girls get together. The campaign sees the introduction of the brand’s new endline ‘Here’s to us’, which invites women to get out there with their girls, wherever they are in the world, and toast them with a Baileys.


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