The 2024 Women's Prize For Non-Fiction Shortlist Has Landed
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The 2024 Women’s Prize For Non-Fiction Shortlist Has Landed

Plus: the 16 books longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

The hotly anticipated Shortlist is in for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction, the inaugural sister prize to the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction. Here are the titles up for the prize, plus everything to know about the Fiction prize 2024.

The Women’s Prize 2024

Barbara Kingsolver, author of Demon Copperhead is announced as the winner of the 2023 Women's Prize For Fiction

Barbara Kingsolver won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2023 for her novel, Demon Copperhead. © Ian West/PA Wire

The Women’s Prize For Non-Fiction

The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction is brand new for 2024, and has been launched to amplify female voices in a category which often gets overlooked. Research found non-fiction books by women are less likely to be reviewed in the media and win prizes, with writers generally receiving lower advances.

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, said: ‘There is a need to banish the lingering perception that non-fiction is men’s work by showing that authority and expertise are qualities that women possess in spades. This prize will shine a light on talented and often overlooked female writers creating brilliant, groundbreaking and revelatory work in genres that include history, science, philosophy, sport, nature, medicine, psychology and biography.’

Women's Prize for Non-Fiction Shortlist & Judges

Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction Shortlist & the 2024 Judges

The Shortlist

The shortlist is officially here, with Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, Chair of Judges, commenting: ‘Our magnificent shortlist is made up of six powerful, impressive books that are characterised by the brilliance and beauty of their writing, and which offer a unique, original perspective. The readers of these books will never see the world – be it through art, history, landscape, politics, religion or technology – the same again.’

The titles on the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction Shortlist are:

  • Thunderclap by Laura Cumming
  • Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World by Naomi Klein
  • A Flat Place by Noreen Masud
  • All That She Carried by Tiya Miles
  • Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI by Madhumita Murgia
  • How To Say Babylon: A Jamaican Memoir by Safiya Sinclair

Out of the six shortlisted authors, there are three British, one is American, one is Jamaican and one is Canadian. Cumming, Klein and Miles are experienced non-fiction authors, while Code Dependent is Murgia’s debut, A Flat Place is Masud’s first work for a non-academic audience, and How To Say Babylon is Sinclair’s first piece of narrative non-fiction (she previously published an award-winning poetry collection titled, Cannibal).

Sadly, 10 books did not make the Shortlist, but were commended with a place on the Longlist. They are:

  • Intervals by Marianne Brooker
  • Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life by Anna Funder
  • Shadows At Noon by Joya Chatterji
  • Eve: How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon
  • Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista
  • The Dictionary People by Sarah Oglivie
  • Vulture Capitalism by Grace Blakeley
  • Young Queens by Leah Redmond Chang
  • The Britannias: An Island Quest by Alice Albinia
  • Matrescence by Lucy Jones

The Women’s Prize For Fiction

Since 1996, The Women’s Prize has been recognising women of any nationality for their English-language novels, published in the UK in the preceding year. The original inspiration for the award was the 1991 Booker Prize shortlist, a collection of six books written by men, despite the fact that 60 percent of the novels published that year were penned by women.

Over 30 years later, the Women’s Prize is one of the most prestigious literary prizes across the globe. Previous winners of the Fiction award have included Barbara Kingsolver for Demon Copperhead (2023), Ruth Ozeki for The Book of Form and Emptiness (2022) and Maggie O’Farrell for Hamnet (2020).

The 2024 Longlist

As always, 16 titles have made the Longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2024, inevitably guiding the books we’ll be picking up for the rest of the year. Impressively, half of the Longlisted titles are are debut novels. They are as follows:

  • Hangman by Maya Binyam
  • In Defence of the Act by Effie Black
  • And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott
  • The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright
  • The Maiden by Kate Foster
  • Brotherless Night by V.V. Ganeshananthan
  • Restless Dolly Maunder by Kate Grenville
  • Enter Ghost by Isabella Hammad
  • Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy
  • 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster by Mirinae Lee
  • The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord
  • Western Lane by Chetna Maroo
  • Nightbloom by Peace Adzo Medie
  • Ordinary Human Feelings by Megan Nolan
  • River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure
  • A Trace of Sun by Pam Williams

The longlisted books for the Women's Prize stacked in two piles

Brits make up the majority of nominees, with five longlists, followed by America and Ireland with three. Australian author Kate Grenville is longlisted for her ninth novel, Restless Dolly Maunder; she previously bagged the prize in 2001 for The Idea of Perfection. Meanwhile, Irish author Anne Enright is nominated for The Wren, The Wren, following her nominations in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 – maybe this will be her year. American author V.V. Ganeshananthan has also previously been nominated for her debut novel Love Marriage in 2009.

‘With the strength and vitality of contemporary women’s fiction very much in evidence, reading the entries for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has been a joyful experience,’ says Monica Ali, Chair of Judges. ‘Of course this made it all the more difficult to select the longlist, but after much lively discussion amongst the judges we are delighted with the 16 titles selected. Each one of these books is brilliant, original and utterly unputdownable. Collectively, they offer a wide array of compelling narratives from around the world, written with verve, wit, passion and compassion. They are books that will engage readers’ hearts and minds, they are filled with indelible characters, and they do what stories can do so powerfully: unsettle and disturb as well as surprise and delight.’

The Judging Panels

Chairing the Women’s Prize for Fiction award will be author Monica Ali, known for books such as Brick Lane and the more recent Love Marriage. She’ll be joined by two fellow authors: Ayòbámi Adébáyò (Stay With Me) and Laura Dockrill (You Are a Story), alongside actor Indira Varma (Luther), and presenter Anna Whitehouse, known as Mother Pukka on Instagram.

The Non-Fiction award, which will make its debut this year, is being chaired by historian and broadcaster Professor Suzannah Lipscomb. Also on the panel is author Kamila Shamsie, who won the Women’s Prize in 2018 for her novel Home Fire, and has since penned books like Best of Friends, a story about a friendship developed in a Pakistan school over 30 years. Also on the panel is fair fashion campaigner Venetia La Manna, broadcaster and journalist Anne Sebba, and academic and author Professor Nicola Rollock.

2024 Women's Prize For Non-Fiction judging panel

2024 Women’s Prize For Non-Fiction judging panel

Reflecting on the announcement, Ali said: ‘I’m excited to embark on this literary treasure hunt, and deeply curious about what I’ll learn in the process about how women writers are choosing to engage with the world right now. I’m looking forward to reading across a broad range of styles, stories and cultures, discovering what themes might emerge, and pinpointing those singular voices that really stand out from the crowd.’

What Now?

Both panels will select the finalists on three guiding principles of ‘excellence, originality and accessibility’. The Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist is expected on 24 April 2024, while the winners for both Prizes will be announced at a joint ceremony on 13 June 2024. Each winner will receive £30,000, plus a limited-edition statuette.

Find out more at womensprizeforfiction.co.uk