Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: the shortlist is here for lockdown reading inspiration

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Hollie Richardson
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Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist.

This year marks the 25th Women’s Prize for Fiction, and the shortlist proves just what an exciting year it is for female writers. Here are the books you need to add to your reading list during lockdown.

When the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 longlist was announced earlier this year, we worried for the judging panel. Just how would they whittle the selections down to six for the shortlist? 

Somehow, they’ve managed to do it – and it really is an incredible choice of books by female writers. With so many of us turning to reading to help soothe anxieties through lockdown, now is the perfect time to enjoy these brilliant choices. 

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The judges this year – tasked with the near-impossible job – include chair and businesswoman Martha Lane Fox; co-founder of the Black British Business Awards Melanie Eusebe; writer and activist Scarlett Curtis; author and comedian Viv Groskop; and author Paula Hawkins.

Without further ado, here is the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 shortlist:

  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
  • Weather by Jenny Offill
Women's Prize for Fiction:
Women's Prize for Fiction: the judges have selected their shortlist.

Chair of the judges, Lane Fox, said she hoped readers in lockdown could find “solace” in any of the six shortlisted novels.

She added: “We are all living in challenging, sad and complex times so incredible stories provide hope, a moment of escape and a point of connection now more than ever.”

The £30,000 prize will be awarded to the winner at a rescheduled ceremony on Wednesday 9 September.

Last year, Tayari Jones won the prize with Marriage Story, the exploration of a black couple in modern day America, which counted Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey as fans. And back in 2018, Kamila Shamsie took the award for Homefire, her reworking of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone.    

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We can’t wait to see who the winner is this year, but we’re more than happy to spend the rest of lockdown getting lost in the pages of each nominated book.

You can get involved too by listening to the Women’s Prize podcast and taking part in the prize’s online #ReadingWomen book club.

Images: Women’s Prize


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…