The Women’s Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, today announces the 2013 longlist. Now in its eighteenth year – and known from 1996 to 2012 as the Orange Prize for Fiction – the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world.

The judges for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction are:

Miranda Richardson, (Chair), Actor
Razia Iqbal, BBC Broadcaster and Journalist
Rachel Johnson, Author, Editor and Journalist
JoJo Moyes, Author
Natasha Walter, Feminist Writer and Human Rights Activist

“The task of reducing the list of submissions from over 140 to just 20 books was always going to be daunting,” commented Miranda Richardson, Chair of Judges, “but this year’s infinite variety has made the task even trickier.”

She continues, “The list we have ended up with is, we believe, truly representative of that diversity of style, content and provenance, and contains those works which genuinely inspired the most excitement and passion amongst the judges. I don’t anticipate the job becoming easier at the next stage!”

Set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible, the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.

This year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers, featuring six first novels alongside two previous Orange Prize winners, Barbara Kingsolver, who is longlisted for her eighth novel, and Zadie Smith longlisted for her fourth novel. Five authors appearing on this year’s list have previously been longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and a further four authors have been previously shortlisted.

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

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in The Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall on 05 June 2013.