The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has today announced the 2016 judging panel.

The 2016 panel will be chaired by lawyer and businesswoman Margaret Mountford. Joining her are writer and journalist, Laurie Penny; award-winning author Elif Shafak, singer-songwriter and author Tracey Thorn and broadcast journalist, Naga Munchetty.

There are so many great female writers,” Margaret Mountford commented, “that chairing this year’s panel for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is going to be a real challenge. I’m really looking forward to reading and comparing views on the books with my fellow judges.

Over the coming months, the judges will be reading over 150 books – outstanding works of fiction written by women across the globe – as they choose their longlist of twenty titles, which will then be whittled down to a shortlist of six, then finally the winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 will be chosen. The 2016 winner will join an illustrious line-up of winning authors including Ali Smith (2015), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007), Barbara Kingsolver (2010) and many more.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction accepts submissions from any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter. Submitted novels must be published in the UK between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016.

The winner will receive a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze figurine known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 will be awarded on Wednesday June 8th 2016.