Industry Notes: The UK’s Women’s Prize and Germany’s Nonfiction Prize Name Jurors

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Three of the 25th Women’s Prize for Fiction jurors are authors, and the German Nonfiction Prize’s jury is the first for this new award.

Jurors for the 25th Women’s Prize for Fiction are, from left, Paula Hawkins, Viv Groskop, Martha Lane Fox, Scarlett Curtis, and Melanie Eusebe. Image: Women’s Prize for Fiction

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

To ‘Help Women, and Men, Discover Exciting New Works’
In its announcement today (November 6), the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction—formerly known by its sponsors’ names, Orange and Baileys—has announced its 2020 jurors.

The panel is to be chaired by Martha Lane Fox, CBE, founder of Doteveryone.org.uk, who’s quoted, saying, “I remember being mesmerized by the books on the first Women’s Prize shortlist 25 years ago and I will always be grateful to the prize for exposing me to the awesome breadth of female writing talent.”

Fox is joined on the jury by:

  • Writer Scarlett Curtis
  • Black British Business Awards co-founder Melanie Eusebe
  • Author Viv Groskop
  • Author Paula Hawkins

More commentary from Fox: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for women’s writing, with amazing authors opening our minds to new perspectives and the endless possibilities of fiction. Our society needs their voices more than ever, and we’re all proud to be part of a prize that, a quarter of a century later, continues to champion female writers. I’m very much looking forward to many passionate discussions about the nominated works.”

And juror Curtis—who, according to the prize’s media messaging, was born in the same year the award was—is quoted, saying, “Each year, the longlisted books ignite conversations around important issues and help women, and men, discover exciting new works of fiction.

“I’ve grown up with this amazing prize and have seen how it has always championed a diverse range of voices, opinions, and perspectives so it’s a real privilege to be a part of this cultural movement during its very special 25th anniversary year.”

The promotional video below features 2020 jurors talking about the prize.

Submissions for the 2020 prize cycle have closed. The period in which copies of books already submitted for the 2020 prize are being sent to the jury closes on Monday (November 11).

Any woman writing in English—whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter—is eligible to win the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Novels must be published in the United Kingdom between April 1 in the year the prize calls for entries and March 31 of the following year, when the prize is announced.

“Our society needs women’s voices more than ever, and we’re all proud to be part of a prize that, a quarter of a century later, continues to champion female writers.”Martha Lane Fox, Women's Prize for Fiction

From the entries submitted each year, the judging panel selects a longlist of up to 20 titles, a shortlist of up to six titles, and one winner.

The winner receives a check for £30,000 (US$38,658) and a limited edition bronze statue known as a “Bessie,” created by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

The prize accepts only novels entered by publishers, who may each submit a maximum of two titles per imprint and one title for imprints with a list of five fiction titles or fewer published in a year. Previously shortlisted and winning authors are awarded a “free pass” in addition to a publisher’s general submissions.

Jurors are allowed to call for titles not initially submitted but published within the same time frame as all other submissions.

The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction—last year, the American writer Tayari Jones for An American Marriage—is normally named in June.


Germany’s Nonfiction Prize Names Its 2020 Jurors

Jurors named to the first German Nonfiction Prize are, clockwise from upper left, Albrecht Beutelspacher, Susanne Beyer, Klause Kowalke, Tania Martini, Kia Vahland, Emilia Zenzile Roig, and Helmut Mayer. Images: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

With the inaugural German Nonfiction Prize‘s submission period continuing to November 22, the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s publishers and booksellers association—has announced its academy’s selection of 2020 jurors to include:

  • Albrecht Beutelspacher (Mathematikum science museum, Gießen)
  • Susanne Beyer (Der Spiegel)
  • Klaus Kowalke (“Lessing und Kompanie” bookstore, Chemnitz)
  • Tania Martini (die tageszeitung)
  • Helmut Mayer (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
  • Emilia Roig (Center for Intersectional Justice)
  • Kia Vahland (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

To guarantee independence of the jurors and their deliberations, the program intends to select a new jury every year. It is, however, possible to serve as a member of the jury more than once.

“The book industry has always stood for social debate and aspires to make a contribution to the success of a free, democratic society”Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

Until the 22nd of November, publishers may submit two monographs each, written in German, from their current or planned catalogues, and they may recommend up to five additional titles. These titles must be published between May 2019 and April of next year, and must be available in bookstores no later than April 21, when the nominations will be announced.

The nonfiction book of the year is selected through a two-stage process, rather than a three-stage process, going right to the shortlist. The jury compiles a shortlist comprising eight titles, announced on April 21. From that group, the members of the jury then choose the winner, to be announced on June 16.

The eight nominated authors will learn who the winner is only on the evening of the awards ceremony. The winner receives 25,000 euros (US$27,707), the seven nominees 2,500 (US$2,770) euros each.

The Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Deutsche Bank Foundation) is the main sponsor of the prize, which is also supported by the technology and information provider MVB and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss (Foundation of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace).

In an interview about the arrival of the new prize program, the Borsenverein’s Alexander Skipis says, “The book industry has always stood for social debate and aspires to make a contribution to the success of a free, democratic society. This understanding is reflected in the German Nonfiction Prize.

“It should be an initiator of discourses, opening spaces for discussion and thus enriching the opinion-forming process.”

More about the submissions process for publishers is here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards programs is here. More from us on the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction is here. And more from us on the new German Nonfiction Prize is here. More on the UK market is here, and more on the German market is hereMore of our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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