Novelist Aminatta Forna is a Baileys Prize for Literature 2017 judge.
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was established to recognise the literary achievement of female writers after the Booker Prize of 1991 failed to shortlist a woman despite 60% of novels published that year being by female authors. The prize that year would go to Nigerian born Ben Okri for his book The Famished Road.
The Booker Prize was at the time the only game in town at the time so some ladies said flip that and a new prize was born. It would awarded annually to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year. Previous winners of this prize include Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eimear McBride, Ali Smith, and Lisa McInerney.
For most of its life it has been known as the Orange Prize for Fiction until 2014 when the good people at alcoholic beverage Baileys decided to put their money in the hat and now it is called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The team at the Baileys Prize have announced the team that will be judging this year’s edition of the prize and they will be chaired by Tessa Ross. Ross who is the CEO of House Productions was previously Controller of Film and Drama at Channel 4, during which time Film4 worked with the most innovative talent in the UK. Also in the team are alongside journalist, author and co-founder of The Pool Sam Baker, presenter and broadcaster Katie Derham, and Sara Pascoe, comic and author. There is also our Aminatta Forna.
Aminatta Forna is the author The Devil that Danced on the Water a memoir and three novels Ancestor Stones, The Memory of Love and The Hired Man. The Memory of Love was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for “Best Book” in 2011 and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She was announced as the recipient of the 2014 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize.
We shall be following the progress of this prize which has brought glory to some African women writers in the past. OK only Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie but this could be the year for someone new hey?