The most engaging conversations; the most captivating books; the most beautiful location: this is the ultimate day festival for readers and writers showcasing the very best female talent within and related to the world of books.

With three tents featuring author panels, shortlist readings, intimate creative writing workshops and much more, theres an incredible line-up of events to choose from in our stunning Bedford Square Gardens location. Join us for our 29th year celebrating household names and new voices at Women’s Prize LIVE.

For a full view on all Women’s Prize LIVE has in store, here’s our official programme of events so far. 

12.15 – 1pm | Bookshelfie: Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard joins Vick Hope for a special live recording of the Women’s Prize Bookshelfie podcast at Women’s Prize LIVE. Julia’s list of her favourite books by women that have shaped her will be revealed to the live audience as part of her conversation with Vick.

This podcast is sponsored by Baileys and produced by Bird Lime Media.

About the speakers: 

Julia Gillard was the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and the first, and only, woman to serve in that role. Since leaving office, she has dedicated her time to advocacy, governance roles, and writing. In 2021, Julia was appointed Chair of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation based in the UK, which supports science to solve urgent worldwide health challenges. Julia is also the founder and inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL) at King’s College London and Chair of its sister Institute at the Australian National University.

Chair: Vick Hope

Vick Hope, multi-award winning TV and BBC Radio 1 presenter, author and journalist, is the host of season seven of the Women’s Prize for Fiction’s Bookshelfie podcast.

1.15pm – 2pm | Thrilling Women

Whether they are the detective, the fugitive, the victim or the person picking up the pieces, women in crime, thrillers and psychological dramas have often been portrayed as either powerless or damaged. This panel refutes that, and are part of a growing wave of writers in this ever-popular genre putting women front and centre of every book they write.

About the speakers:

Penny Batchelor is the Amazon bestselling author of two psychological thrillers My Perfect Sister (which was longlisted for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize in 2020) and Her New Best Friend published by Embla Books. Her third thriller The Reunion Party is published on 25 June 2024 and she is currently writing a fourth. As well as being a novelist she is also a freelance journalist and regular columnist for The Bookseller. Penny is a co-founder and judge of the ADCI Literary Prize and, with the Professional Writing Academy, sponsors course bursaries for disabled writers.

Louise Doughty is the author of ten novels, most recently A Bird in Winter, published by Faber in 2023. Her previous books include Platform Seven, filmed for ITVX; Black Water, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the bestseller Apple Tree Yard, adapted for BBC One; and Whatever You Love, nominated for the Costa Novel Award and the Orange (Women’s) Prize for fiction. Her how-to-write book is A Novel in a Year.

Dorothy Koomson is an award-winning, global bestselling author of 19 novels. Known as ‘Queen of the Big Reveal’, her thrillers have connected with readers all over the world and are regularly Sunday Times bestsellers with sales of over 2.5 million copies in the UK alone. Dorothy featured on the 2021 Powerlist as one of the most influential Black people in Britain, appeared in GQ Style as a Black British trailblazer, and was a judge for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel, Every Smile You Fake was published in February 2024.

Val McDermid has sold over 19 million books to date across the globe and is translated into more than 40 languages. Val has also published in several award-winning standalone novels, books of non-fiction, short story collections and a children’s picture book, My Granny is a Pirate. Val returned to Karen Pirie with her 2023 hardback, Past Lying, which was published in October of that year. 2024 sees the publication of Queen Macbeth, her reimagining of the story of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, in May and then a brand new Karen Pirie novel in October.

Chair: Ayo Onatade

Ayo Onatade is a freelance crime fiction commentator and blogger. Ayo has written articles, given papers as well as taking part and moderating panels on all aspects of crime fiction. She is currently a Judge for one of the CWA Dagger Awards and the Ngaio Marsh Award as well as being Chair for the HWA (Historical Writers Association) Debut Crown.

2.15pm – 3pm | Writing for Activism

Three writers with issues that matter at the centre of their writing: Emma Dabiri writes about race, the female body and society; Kieran Yates has established herself as one of the foremost commentators on housing and the society-wide current housing crisis; and Tori Tsui is a climate justice advocate fighting for climate policy to be inclusive as well as effective. All three have built their passion into books, allowing them to reach a wider audience and be part of a full debate.

About the speakers:

Emma Dabiri is an Irish-Nigerian academic, activist and broadcaster. She spent over a decade as a teaching fellow in the African department at SOAS and is a final year Visual Sociology PhD researcher at Goldsmiths. Her books have been published to critical and commercial acclaim; her 2019 debut Don’t Touch My Hair was an Irish Times bestseller, and her second book, What White People Can Do Next was a Sunday Times bestseller.

Tori Tsui is an intersectional climate activist and mental health advocate from Hong Kong but based in the UK. After working on UN climate conference, COP25, Tori lived in Colombia, where she worked with Latin American and Caribbean youth on a It’s Not Just You project called Sail For Climate Action, which aimed to amplify the voices of environmentalists from the global south. It’s Not Just You is Tori’s first book.

Kieran Yates is a journalist, broadcaster and author who writes regularly on youth culture, housing, immigration and politics for publications including the Guardian, the Independent and VICE. She contributed to the award-winning essay collection The Good Immigrant and in 2019 she produced the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Estate Music’, which explored the link between music, immigrant communities in the UK and social housing. All The Houses I’ve Ever Lived In is her first solo book

Chair: Venetia La Manna

A fair fashion campaigner, content creator and broadcaster, Venetia La Manna challenges fashion brands and retailers on their unethical practices. She uses her social media platform to educate, entertain and raise awareness around fashion and sustainability, while, offline, she is focused on community building and organising against Big Fashion. Venetia co-founded Remember Who Made Them, which amplifies the voices of garment workers. On her popular podcast, All The Small Things, Venetia interviews authors about issues related to social and climate justice. Venetia is a judge for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

3.15pm – 4pm | Mishal Husain: Broken Threads

Mishal Husain is a journalist, broadcaster and currently one of the hosts of the most-listened to radio programme in the UK, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Mishal’s non-fiction book Broken Threads publishes in June, telling the extraordinary history of her four grandparents during WWII and subsequent partition of India, whose lives were shaped by tumultuous politics and dangerous prejudices.

About the speaker:

Mishal Husain is a broadcaster, journalist and interviewer whose work has taken her from elections and royal events to refugee camps and filming documentaries. She presents BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Today Debates, as well as the TV news on BBC1. Her first book was The Skills: How to Win at Work.

Chair: Sathnam Sanghera

Sathnam Sanghera is an author and journalist. He has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards twice, for his memoir The Boy With The Topknot and his novel Marriage Material, the former being adapted by BBC Drama in 2017 and named Mind Book of the Year in 2009. His third book, Empireland: How Imperialism Has Been Shaped Modern Britain became an instant Sunday Times bestseller on release in 2021, was named a Book of the Year at the 2022 British Books Awards, and resulted in Empire State of Mind, the acclaimed two-part documentary for Channel 4 for which he earned a Best Presenter shortlisting at the 2022 Grierson Awards. The book also inspired a sequel, Empireworld: How British Imperialism Has Shaped the Globe, which became an instant Sunday Times bestseller on release in 2024, and Stolen History: The Truth about the British Empire and How it Shaped Us, which went to No 1 on several children’s books charts when it was released in 2023 and was shortlisted for a British Book Award and Children’s Book of the Year by Foyles. 

4.15pm – 5pm | Futures fiction panel, in partnership with Good Housekeeping

The Women’s Prize ran a competition called Futures in 2020 spotlighting ten early career fiction writers  in partnership with Good Housekeeping. Now, we catch up with four of the Futures writers, who’ve gone on to publish more books in all genres of fiction, from thrillers through to historical and literary fiction.

About the speakers:

Abigail Dean was born in Manchester, and grew up in the Peak District. She graduated from Cambridge with a Double First in English. Formerly a Waterstones bookseller, she spent five years as a lawyer in London, and took summer 2018 off to work on her debut novel, Girl A, ahead of her thirtieth birthday. Girl A was an instant bestseller and has been sold in 36 territories. Day One is her second book.

Stacey Halls is the author of four novels, including The Familiars which was the bestselling debut novel of 2019. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, The Independent, The Sun and Fabulous.

Sairish Hussain is a Bradford-based author. Her debut novel, The Family Tree, was published by HarperCollins and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Portico Prize and The Diverse Book Awards. It was also longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and winner of Calibre Audio’s ‘Hidden Gem’ Prize. Sairish was selected by Kei Miller as one of ten ‘unmissable writers working in the UK’ for the International Literature Showcase 2021. She was one of the finalists in the Women’s Prize & Good Housekeeping Futures Award, an initiative which celebrates the most promising emerging female authors today. Her second novel, Hidden Fires, was published in 2024.

Chibundu Onuzo was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Chibundu’s first novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, was published by Faber in 2012 and was the winner of a Betty Trask Award, shortlisted for theDylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and Etisalat Literature Prize. Her second novel, Welcome to Lagos, was published by Faber in 2017 and shortlisted for the RSL Encore Award. In 2018 Chibundu was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as part of its “40 Under 40” initiative.

Chair: Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping

Joanne Finney is Consumer Affairs Director and Books Editor at Good Housekeeping. She writes about everything from the latest best-sellers to where to find the best interest rates for your cash. She has previously been a judge of the Costa Book Awards and runs the popular Book Room Facebook group.

5.15pm – 6pm | Celebrating Bridget Jones: Helen Fielding in conversation with Kate Mosse

From pain au chocolats to glasses of Chardonnay, romantic highs and career lows, Bridget Jones has won over the hearts of millions of readers. How do you create a character as enduring and heartwarming, still beloved over 25 years since her first diaries were published? Join us as we find out, in an exclusive event with award-winning novelist and screenwriter Helen Fielding, in conversation with Kate Mosse.

About the speaker:

Helen Fielding is a British novelist, screenwriter and journalist, best known as the creator of Bridget Jones. Helen’s first novel was set in a refugee camp in Africa, and she started writing Bridget as an anonymous column in the Independent. This turned into an unexpected hit, leading to four Bridget Jones novels, and three Bridget Jones  movies with a fourth movie- Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy – currently shooting in London.  The novels have been translated into over 40 languages and the novels and movies became international bestsellers and box office hits.

Fielding continued to work for British newspapers and on documentaries including the Thames TV Documentary Where Hunger is a Weapon about the war in South Sudan.

In 2024, the New York Times selected Bridget Jones’s Diary as one of the twenty-two funniest novels since Catch 22 and, in 2016 the BBC’s Woman’s Hour chose Bridget Jones as one of the seven women who have most influenced female culture over the last seven decades – despite not actually being a real person.

Chair: Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse CBE is the founder director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction. She is also an award-winning novelist, non-fiction author, playwright, campaigner and interviewer. The author of ten novels & short story collections, including The Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter. Kate also has four works of non-fiction including the memoir An Extra Pair of Hands and Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World. Her latest international No 1 bestselling novel, The Ghost Ship, is the third in a quartet of historical novels, The Joubert Family Chronicles. Kate’s books have been translated into 37 languages and published in more than 40 countries.

6.30pm – 8pm | Women’s Prize for Fiction and Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction Shortlist readings

The culmination of our day of wonderful events is the exclusive shortlist readings from our two Prizes. Speakers include, for the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist: Monica Ali (Chair of Judges), Anne Enright, V. V. Ganeshananthan, Kate Grenville, Isabella Hammad, Aube Rey Lescure and Claire Kilroy. For the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction: Suzannah Lipscomb (Chair of Judges), Laura Cumming, Naomi Klein, Noreen Masud, Tiya Miles, Madhumita Murgia and Safiya Sinclair.

1pm – 1.45pm | Demystifying Publishing 

Find out how the publishing industry works through the experience of one of our Discoveries programme alumna, Olivia Ford, whose debut novel Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame was published this spring. Joining her will be her editor at Penguin, Rebecca Hilsdon, and her literary agent, Jess Molloy.

About the speakers:

Olivia Ford has spent the last ten years in entertainment TV, recently as the Story Producer, then an Edit Producer on Made in Chelsea, and Senior Producer on Love Island. Olivia is a graduate of the Faber Academy where she wrote the beginnings of her first novel Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame, which was then longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize Trust’s Discoveries Prize.

Rebecca Hilsdon is an Editorial Director at Penguin Michael Joseph. Her list spans fantasy, crime and thriller and contemporary fiction. Authors she has published include Rainbow Rowell, Raven Kennedy and Monica Murphy. She lives in South London.

Jess Molloy, a Literary Agent at Curtis Brown, joined the literary department in 2019 having previously worked at Curtis Brown in the talent and comedy department and within talent management for over eight years. Jess is a judge of the 2024 Discoveries programme.

Chair: Irenosen Okojie

Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Appointed to the Royal Society of Literature as a Fellow in 2018, her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, was published in 2015, for which she was a recipient of a 2016 Betty Trask Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, was published in 2016. It was shortlisted for the 2016 inaugural Jhalak Prize and the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A collection of short stories, Nudibranch, was published in 2019. It was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2021 she was awarded an MBE For Services To Literature. A novel, Curandera, is forthcoming in 2022. Irenosen was a judge of the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

2pm – 2.45pm | Outsiders: Lottie Hazell, Tracy King and Nikki May

Join three of Doubleday’s newest contemporary writers in a what is sure to be a moving and enlightening discussion on the theme of being an outsider, interviewed by Simon Savidge. On the panel will be the authors of three of Transworld’s most exciting books of 2024: Lottie Hazell’s Piglet, Tracy King’s Learning to Think and Nikki May’s This Motherless Land.

Sponsored by Doubleday, an imprint of Transworld

About the books:

Piglet is a deliciously dark and piercing story of food and secrets, a Stylist Best Debut Novel of 2024. Meet cookbook editor Piglet in the two weeks leading up to her wedding as she grapples with her fiancée’s devastating revelation that has the power to shatter the illusion of her perfect life. To do something about it would be to self-destruct. But what will it cost her to do nothing?

Learning to Think is a shocking, inspiring and ultimately hopeful memoir that holds up a mirror to the everyday realities of living in poverty, it is also a testament to the power of books and of learning to think for yourself. The most exciting memoir to launch in 2024 – Educated meets Lowborn and more.

From the prize-winning author of Wahala, This Motherless Land is a powerful de-colonial retelling of Mansfield Park, exploring identity, culture, race and love. A stunning novel that bridges three decades and two continents, delving into the thorny territories of race and culture and belonging. At its heart is a story about love and how it can make the difference between surviving and thriving.

Chair: Simon Savidge

Simon Savidge is the man behind Savidge Reads. He was previously the travel and lifestyle editor of a UK men’s magazine and now contributes to several literary and lifestyle magazines. Simon is the co-founder and Honorary Director of The Green Carnation Prize (for LGBT writing) now in association with Foyles. In 2013 he also became one of the judges on the inaugural panel of The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize and was the inaugural Guest Editor for Fiction Uncovered and was then one of the judges for Fiction Uncovered 2015

3pm – 3.45pm | Went to London, Took the Dog

Twenty years after leaving London, Nina Stibbe took a “marriage break” and moved into Deborah (“Debby”) Moggach’s spare room for a year, taking only her dog and a suitcase with her. We’ve reunited the two writers here for a panel on mid-life choices and changes, hosted by journalist and presenter of the Postcards from Midlife podcast, Lorraine Candy.

About the speakers:

Deborah Moggach, OBE, is a British novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She has written twenty novels, including Tulip Fever, These Foolish Things (which became the bestselling novel and film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and The Carer.

Nina Stibbe is the author of seven books. Love, Nina won the Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award at the 2014 National Book Awards, and was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year. She is the author of four novels, all of which have been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Her third novel, Reasons to Be Cheerful, is the only novel to date to have won both the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and the Comedy Women in Print Award for comic fiction.

Chair: Lorraine Candy

Lorraine Candy is a mother of four and an award-winning journalist with over a decade of experience writing about parenting in national newspapers and magazines, including columns with the Sunday Times Magazine and Daily Mail. She is also the co-host of the chart-topping lifestyle podcast Postcards from Midlife, which features the stories of spirited midlife women and tackles parenting adolescents. Formerly the editor-in-chief of Sunday Times Style, ELLE and Cosmopolitan, she is now focusing full-time on writing. Her book Mum, What’s Wrong With you? 101 Things Only The Mothers of Teenage Girls Know is a Sunday Times Bestseller. Lorraine was a judge of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

4pm-4.45pm | New Voices: Nikkitha Bakshani and Amy Twigg

In an exclusive event for Women’s Prize LIVE, debut writers Nikkitha Bakshani (Ghost Chilli, 4 July 2024, Fleet) and Amy Twigg (Spoilt Creatures, 6 June 2024, Tinder Press) come together to talk about their books and their journeys to publication. Two exciting new writers with bright publishing futures ahead of them – and books you’ll want to devour and share.

Sponsored by Fleet, an imprint of Little, Brown, and Tinder Press, an imprint of Headline Hachette Book Group

About the speakers:

Nikkitha Bakshani is an American writer based in London. Before getting an MA in Creative & Life Writing from Goldsmiths, she was an editor at New York-based publication Food52. She has also worked at the Paris Review, Departures, the Village Voice, and The Week. She’s been a Contributing Editor to The Morning News since 2013. Her writing has appeared online at all the aforementioned publications as well as Eater, The Baffler, Vice, and more.

Amy Twigg was born in Kent, and is currently based in Surrey. Her novel Spoilt Creatures won the BPA Pitch Prize and was longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition. In 2024, she was selected as one of the Observer’s Best New Novelists.

Chair: Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and storyteller. She has published 20 books, 13 of which are novels and her books have been translated into 57 languages. Her most recent book, The Island of Missing Trees, was a finalist for the Costa Award, British Book Awards, RSL Ondaatje Prize and Women’s Prize for Fiction and was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick. Shafak is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature and has been chosen among BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women. An advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of expression, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker. Shafak was awarded the Halldór Laxness International Literature Prize for her contribution to ‘the renewal of the art of storytelling’. Her website can be found at www.elifshafak.com and her Substack is called “Unmapped Storylands”. Elif was a judge of the 2016 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Women’s Prize LIVE presents a full programme of workshops and publishing industry 1:2:1s for Day Pass holders to add on to their booking.

Learning from the best, you will find out how to:
– Research your novel
– Plot your novel (and fix your plot when it’s gone wrong)
– Write empathetic characters
– Best approach agents and editors with your work

You can also book exclusive 1:2:1 access to Literary Agents, Publicists and Marketing experts – booking for these 1:2:1s will be available soon.

If you already have your Day Pass to Women’s Prize LIVE, book your Add-Ons here
To book your Day Pass and Add-Ons, go here

12.15pm – 1pm | Approaching Agents and Publishers: where to start
With Anna Davis, Curtis Brown Creative

Anna Davis, founder and Director of Curtis Brown Creative, will lead an intimate session sharing the best tips on how to approach agents and editors with your work when you’re ready to submit. Learn the pitfalls of a pitch package and the best ways to present your novel or narrative non-fiction, including the synopsis, covering letter and the opening material of your book.

About the tutor:

Anna Davis is the founder and Managing Director of Curtis Brown Creative, the first and only creative writing school to be run by a literary agency. Outside Curtis Brown, Anna is the author of five novels, which have been published around the world in over twenty languages. Anna has served on the management committee for the Association of Authors’ Agents. Anna is a judge on the Discoveries programme.

1.15pm – 2pm | Researching Your Novel
with Stacey Halls

Learn how to conduct historical research to enhance your novel. Writer Stacey Halls (Mrs England; The Household) will teach you skills and give you tips to allow you to undertake your own research, using both online tools and resources, and traditional research venues such as libraries and archives. You can find out more about how Stacey has researched her novels here

About the tutor:

Stacey Halls is the author of four novels, including The Familiars which was the bestselling debut novel of 2019. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, The Independent, The Sun and Fabulous. She was the Women’s Prize x Good Housekeeping Futures award winner.

2.15pm – 3pm | Book a 1:1 with a Publishing Expert

More information and booking coming soon.

3.15pm – 4pm | Plotting and Planning
with Louise Doughty

Join queen of the psychological thriller, Louise Doughty, for a practical workshop teaching you how to plan and plot your novel – and how to stay on the right track. For writers of all genres who want to tighten up their plotting and narrative arc.

About the tutor:

Louise Doughty is the author of ten novels, most recently A Bird in Winter, published by Faber & Faber UK Ltd in August of last year. Her previous books include Platform Seven, filmed for ITVX and broadcast on 7th December 2023; Black Water, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the bestseller Apple Tree Yard, adapted for BBC One; and Whatever You Love, nominated for the Costa Novel Award and the Women’s Prize for fiction. She has been nominated for many other prizes including the Sunday Times Short Story Prize and the CWA Silver Dagger, along with creating and writing the hit BBC drama Crossfire. Her work has been translated into thirty languages.

4.15pm – 5pm | Writing Empathetic Characters
with Holly Bourne

In partnership with EmpathyLab

This practical session will include writing exercises and discussion on how to approach sensitive issues within your fiction to provoke empathy from your reader. You will learn how to handle issues such as trauma and mental health with sensitivity and kindness.

About the tutor:

Holly Bourne is a bestselling and critically acclaimed author. Inspired by her work with young people, and her own experiences of everyday sexism, Holly is a passionate mental health advocate and proud feminist.