The judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction have been unveiled, marking the launch of the 2022 annual book award for fiction written by a woman.
Journalist and radio presenter Mary Ann Sieghart will act as the chair of the judging panel for 2022. She said of her appointment, 'It’s a great honour to be chosen to chair the judging for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. There are so many fabulous contemporary female writers who deserve to be better read.' She continued, 'I hope that our longlist, shortlist, and final winner will inspire new readers, male and female, to sample the extraordinary variety of fiction created by women today.'
Sieghart will be joined by a panel including: Dorothy Koomson, the novelist, journalist and podcaster; author Anita Sethi; journalist and editor Lorraine Candy; and Pandora Sykes, journalist, broadcaster and author. Dorothy served as a judge for Grazia’s annual First Chapter competition in 2021, where Naomi George won first place.
The Women's Prize, which creators describe as ‘the greatest celebration of female creativity in the world,’ is presented to the best full-length novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022.
The ward ‘champions excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing', and the winner receives a cash prize of £30,000. The longlist for the award will be unveiled in March, followed by the shortlist in April, with the winner then announced on June 15.
The 2021 prize was won by Susanna Clarke’s novel Piranesi, with the judging panel made up of Bernardine Evaristo, Elizabeth Day, Vick Hope, Nesrine Malik and Sarah-Jane Mee.
Best Romance Books 2021
1. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Do you have a Duke of Hastings shaped hole in your life after watching Bridgerton in a day? Well, you're in luck, because the hit Netflix show is based on the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn and there are eight other Bridgerton stories ready for you to read (and for Shonda Rhimes to adapt into very addictive television). The second book in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me, follows Daphne's brother Anthony who has decided it's finally time to choose a wife. There's just one problem: he doesn't want to fall in love.
2. Beach Read by Emily Henry
This book will provide the perfect dose of escapism. Writers January and Gus have completely different outlooks on love. Both are tasked with writing bestsellers before the end of the summer and decide to swap genres. But, telling each others stories may change their worlds entirely.
3. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
Mhairi McFarlane is one of the queen's of the modern rom com and If I Never Met You is one of the best. It's exactly what you want from a contemporary romance: a laugh a minute, paced writing, great characters with plenty of depth and just the right amount of tropes.
4. What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts
The second novel from Sophia Money-Coutts follows protagonist Lil as she navigates life after finding herself unexpectedly pregnant to handsome mountaineer Max, a man who ghosted her after their first date. The characters will charm your socks (and each others pants) off in this hysterical page turner that feels made for the big screen rom com treatment.
5. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Yes, Bridget Jones's Diary was first published 24 years ago and yes, we're still recommending it. Get your big knickers out and settle in for a great read, Bridget, Daniel and Mark are as hysterical as ever.
6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
You'll open up Evelyn Hugo anticipating a riotous recounting of a Hollywood icon's tumultuous love life but this story gives you so much more than you expect. The novel unfolds as Evelyn decides to share her life story with a journalist she's entrusted to write her biography and takes you back in time as it covers Evelyn's relationships, friendships, marriages and forbidden love.
7. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
There's a reason Fifty Shades is one of the best selling books of all time and it's the VERY adult content. Following the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey over the course of three books (and three films) the series is a fan favourite for a reason.
8. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Author Elizabeth Gilbert said she wanted her most recent novel to "go down like a champagne cocktail - light and bright, crispy and fun" and City of Girls certainly delivers as it follows Vivian through her life in New York City. While the first half of the book is raunchy and covers a lot of ground, it was the second half that I truly couldn't put down as a number of unexpected love stories unfurl.
9. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
You can't go past Jasmine Guillory for a romance that gives you exactly what you're after and The Proposal (the second book in Guillory's The Wedding Date series that works just as well as a standalone) is a fun and fresh take on one of the greatest tropes of all time: the rebound that turns into something a bit more serious than anyone bargained for.
10. Normal People by Sally Rooney
This story is the absolute epitome of opposites attract and see's a mixture of mutual fascination, friendship, and love. Connell and Marianne's love story had us captivated when watching the hit TV series but, Normal People originated from Sally Rooney's best-selling book. Get ready as this read will take you on a journey.