Entry Type


About the prize

The Women’s Prize is adding a companion literary prize for Non-Fiction to its well-known and prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction 

The prize for Non-Fiction will be awarded for the first time in 2024 and the winner, alongside £30,000 in prize money, will be presented with a small bronze form or figurine (to be known as The Charlotte). Female members of the Royal Society of Sculptors are invited to submit proposals for this new award.

The new Non-Fiction prize is being supported by the Charlotte Aitken Trust they are also commissioning and funding this competition to find The Charlotte

The Women’s Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996: previous winners include Zadie Smith, Rose Tremain, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Ann Patchett and Marilyn Robinson. The sculptor Grizel Niven offered a cast for a sculpture to be awarded along with the prize having heard Kate Mosse, the founder of the prize, talking on Radio 4 about the need for a serious literary prize to recognise female authors. The bronze figurine awarded to the winner of the Fiction prize each year is known as The Bessie.

Bessie Award statuette by Grizel Niven (for the fiction award)

About the Non-Fiction Prize

Non-Fiction takes many forms including life-writing, memoir, biography, nature-writing, writing about science and history, our cultural heritage and books that tackle the political landscapes, both micro and macro, that we all live in. Non-fiction at its best helps us understand the world and ourselves better and is a flourishing literary form in the world of publishing, bookselling and reading.

The Opportunity

Three sculptors will be shortlisted, each will be given £1000 to provide a 1:1 maquette of the proposed work and the winning sculptor will be awarded a fee of £10,000 (inc. VAT) for the work, including design, creation, and the first cast.

  • Casts will be numbered and part of a limited edition of 100.
  • The winning sculptor will hand over the first cast and mould of the sculpture (to be known as The Charlotte) to The Women’s Prize. The mould will be held by The Women’s Prize in perpetuity and the Prize will oversee the production of each cast.
  • Quality control of recasting will be the responsibility of The Women’s Prize.
  • Prize money will be £10,000 and The Charlotte Aitken Trust will pay for the first cast (up to a limit of £1000).
  • The Women’s Prize would like to offer PR support to promote this competition and its winner
The Judges

Sebastian Faulks is the Chair of the Charlotte Aitken Trust. He is the author of 14 novels, including Snow Country, Human Traces, Where My Heart Used to Beat, Engleby and Birdsong; and four non-fiction books, including The Fatal Englishman. He was a client and close friend of Gillon Aitken for 30 years. When not writing books, he is a keen theatre-goer and has appeared on the professional stage in a touring adaptation of Birdsong.

Sebastian Faulks

Clare Alexander is a member of the Charlotte Aitken Trust . She became a literary agent in 1998 after more than 20 years as a publisher. She is chair of Aitken Alexander Associates, the literary agency based in London and founded by Gillon Aitken.

She was until 2017 a member of the board of the Orange Prize, which became The Women’s Prize for Fiction, and she remains a Founding Patron. Clare was named Orion Publishing Group Literary Agent of the Year in 2007, and was awarded the 2008 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which honours outstanding achievements by women in publishing. She is a previous President of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

Clare Alexander

Rachel Cugnoni is the Grant Director of the Charlotte Aitken Trust. She worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years and was the Publisher of Vintage Books, a division of the Penguin Random House publishing group including the imprints of Jonathan Cape, Chatto & Windus, Harvil Secker and The Bodley Head.

Rachel Cugnoni

Kate Mosse is an award-winning author, performer, essayist, playwright and campaigner.  Her ten novels and short story collections - which include Labyrinth, Citadel, The Taxidermist's Daughter, The Winter Ghosts, The Burning Chambers and The Ghost Ship - have sold more than eight million copies worldwide and been translated into 40 languages. Her four works of non-fiction include Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World and a highly-acclaimed memoir about caring, An Extra Pair of Hands. She is the President of the Festival of Chichester, the Founder Director of the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Women's Prize for Non-Fiction and the Founder of the global #WomaninHistory campaign.

Kate Mosse

Laura Ford studied at Bath Academy of Art between 1978-82 including a period at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York before joining the postgraduate sculpture course at Chelsea School of Art in London. While still a student, she participated in the 1983 survey exhibition, The Sculpture Show at The Serpentine and Hayward Galleries alongside artists including, Richard Wentworth, Tony Cragg, David Nash and many of her tutors. 27 years later she participated in The British Art Show 5 alongside a new array of British artists that included Phyllida Barlow, Jeremy Deller, Michael Landy and Susan Hiller, Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas. In 2005 she represented Wales in the Venice Biennale.  Her work is represented in many public collections including; Tate, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Government Art Collection, Potteries Museum, National Museums and Gallery of Wales; Museum of Modern Art, University of Iowa; Arts Council of Great Britain; Contemporary Art Society; Unilever plc; Penguin Books; Oldham Art Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, The Meijier Gardens, Grand Rapids USA and The Gateway Foundation, St. Louis, as well as numerous private collections. Her sculptures are faithful representations of fantasy with sometimes bitter sweet and menacing qualities mixed with tenderness. She uses humour and an acute observation of the human condition to engage with wider social and political issues. Her work is intensely crafted but playful, and she has used a range of media to realise her work including, drawing, painting, performance, set design and has increasingly taken on the challenge of public art alongside museum and gallery shows. Photo credit: YU Qiao

Laura Ford

The Shortlist

The shortlisted artists were announced on Friday 10 November. Click  here to read the full press release.

The Winner

The winner Ann  Christopher RA FRSS was announced on 17 January 2024. Click here to read the full press release.

Current Winners