A new £30,000 prize for women seeks to redress the gender gap in nonfiction.
The people behind the Women’s Prize for Fiction have created a parallel award for nonfiction. According to The Telegraph,
The prize was devised after research by the Women’s Prize Trust found that female writers in these genres made up only a third of non-fiction prize winners over the past ten years, with almost 70 percent of top awards being claimed by men.
Most of my favorite nonfiction writers—Rebecca Solnit, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Cal Flyn, Elizabeth Rush, Stacy Schiff—happen to be women, so that number above is, in fact, alarming.
As novelist Kate Mosse—founder and director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction—says, of women who write nonfiction:
They are not being reviewed. They are not being stocked. If you go into a “smart thinking” section in a book shop, there are no female writers at all. It is really old-fashioned. It’s this outdated view that only men can be experts. We want this prize to show that there are amazing female writers out there with a lot to say, whether it’s in science, philosophy, politics.
The prize is open to all nationalities and will be given annually, starting in 2024.