Our mission at the Women’s Prize Trust is to create positive change in the world through books by women, and we believe that original ideas, smart thinking and excellent writing is more vital now than ever. So we are thrilled to announce our intention to launch a new annual book prize, the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction, and are currently seeking sponsorship to make this a reality this year.

The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction, which will sit alongside its sister prize the Women’s Prize for Fiction, will amplify female voices, whilst celebrating books that inform, entertain, challenge, disrupt, and offer solace and connection.

The impetus to launch the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction was new research which demonstrates a clear inequality in both consumer visibility (through media coverage and prize announcements) and author remuneration. This research found that female non-fiction writers, in comparison to their male counterparts, are:

  • Less likely to be reviewed in the UK national media: only 26.5% of non-fiction reviews in national newspapers was allocated to books by female writers, according to our analysis.
  • Less likely to be shortlisted, or win, non-fiction book prizes: only 35.5% of books awarded a non-fiction prize over the past ten years were written by a female writer, across seven UK non-fiction prizes.
  • More likely to receive a lower advance: data provided by ALCS shows that female authors’ median earnings have fallen by 16.6% over the past five years compared to a 13.5% drop experienced by male writers. This gender pay gap has also increased over the same period from 33.3% to 35.7%.
  • Less likely to appear in the ‘Best Books of 2022’ newspaper articles: only 33.7% of the non-fiction books selected in 2022 were written by female writers.

This is an extremely exciting moment in the history of the Women’s Prize. Since we launched twenty-eight years ago, we have celebrated and amplified the voices of hundreds of amazing novelists, pressing their books into the hands of millions of readers. We are confident that our new non-fiction sister prize will do the same for those extraordinary non-fiction authors, many of whom do not receive the attention they deserve. The result is that readers are short changed. We are now seeking corporate partners open to joining our family of sponsors. Together, we can champion exceptional women’s narrative non-fiction on a global stage. This is the time to be bold.

Kate Mosse

The Charlotte Aitken Trust, a charity set up by the former literary agent Gillon Aitken on behalf of his late daughter, has generously awarded the £30,000 winner’s prize money for a three-year period and a statuette for each winner named ‘the Charlotte’, with the Women’s Prize Trust now seeking additional investment to fund the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction. A deadline of 1 May 2023 has been confirmed to enable the Prize to launch in time for the 2024 Prize cycle.

The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction will be awarded annually and be open to all female writers from across the globe, regardless of background who are published in the UK and writing in English. The criteria will include all narrative non-fiction – from history, memoir, music and nature writing, to science, philosophy and biography. As with its sister fiction prize, the Women’s Prize for Non Fiction will celebrate excellence in writing and research, strong and original narrative voices and accessibility. The aim is to launch this new non-fiction prize in 2024, calling for entries in the Summer 2023.