After we announced our inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction earlier this year, we couldn’t help but get excited about all the wonderful non-fiction books and recommendations coming our way. It turns out we weren’t the only readers with a love of non-fiction.
Our lovely 2023 judges of the Women’s Prize for Fiction shared their favourite non-fiction books by women. From moving memoirs to stunning feminist reexaminations of historical events, there is something you’re guaranteed to fall in love with on this list.
Selected by Bella Mackie
My most recent favorite non-fiction book by a woman is The Five by Hallie Rubenhold which tells the stories of the women who were killed by Jack the Ripper and it is just the most astounding, methodical piece of work which addresses the horrible tropes and stigma about the women that he killed and it never mentions him, which I think is a fascinating way to look at the look at the awful killings.
Selected by Rachel Joyce
One of my favorite non-fiction books by a woman is The Little Virtues find Natalia Ginzburg. It’s a collection of essays that are written in the 60s. The reason I love it is that she takes very ordinary everyday objects like for instance, meatballs, the English weather, a pair of shoes, and then she casts light on those objects, which is so far reaching that you feel you’ve come to a much more profound understanding not just of her time, but of ours.
Selected by Louise Minchin
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg has taught me so much about how to step up, be brave and do things. On the other hand The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond has taught me how to take my foot off the accelerator.
Selected by Tulip Siddiq
There’s a book called House Music by an ex MP Baroness Oona King, and she talks about how ridiculous the House of Commons is, and how it was when she first came in she saw that they were hanging hooks for swords because MPs still carry swords around. It was a real introduction to the life of politics, and I love House Music and I love the title.