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Women, Power and Revolution at Latitude Festival

On Sunday the Women’s Prize for Fiction descended onto a field in Suffolk for a very special event for this year’s Latitude Festival. Read on for the highlights, plus a chance to win signed copies of our brilliant panelist’s books!

Our event ‘Stories for Rebel Girls’ saw co-founder of The Pool, author and 2017 Women’s Prize judge, Sam Baker chairing an inspirational panel of women including 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner, Naomi Alderman, author and co-founder of The Women’s Equality Party, Catherine Mayer, internationally bestselling author and 2016 Baileys Prize judge, Elif Shafak.

In front of a packed crowd in the festival’s Speakeasy tent, this year’s Baileys Prize winner Naomi Alderman discussed gender equality, saying: ‘We’re made to cut off very vital parts of ourselves because they don’t conform to our ideas of masculinity and femininity.’ Naomi also said: ‘The women’s movement has made my life possible.’

The brilliant Elif Shafak then mused on why literature is a vital partner to feminism: ‘Through fiction, people become more open-minded, more ready to connect with the other.’ Elif also said: ‘This is an amazing moment for global feminism. We now understand that things we take for granted can be taken away from us.’

Catherine Mayer, the co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party told the crowd about the early days of the party: ‘What most people said to me when I founded the WEP, was that it was unnecessary, that we already had equality.’ After highlighting a few examples of our lack of gender parity in modern times, Catherine said: ‘We can move towards a gender-equal world, or we can move towards Gilead – it’s your choice.’

Naomi Alderman then voiced her thoughts on feminism today: ‘I’m tremendously excited by young feminists… I’m inspired by women who don’t care if people think they’re angry.’

Elif Shafak then discussed the challenges women still face in the modern world: ‘When you walk on the street, sexual harassment is a part of women’s daily life. The streets belong to men.’

Catherine Mayer then spoke about the initial founding of the Women’s Equality Party: ‘I did it accidentally. I proposed the idea at a big public meeting. I said it was a good idea, that we needed one. I didn’t originally offer to found it… I don’t see how any one of us can not be an activist right now. There’s not one person in this room whose life wouldn’t be improved by gender equality.’

Plus! Here’s a chance to win a fantastic stack of books from our inspiring panelists, all signed. We’ve got our 2017 winner The Power, by Naomi Alderman; Sam Baker’s page-turning The Woman Who Ran, Elif Shafak’s incredible Three Daughters of Eve and Catherine Mayer’s ode to a gender-equal future Attack of the 50ft Women.

Simply follow us and like our Instagram post to win! Enter 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.