The Virago/New Statesman Women’s Prize for Politics & Economics

Prize-winning author and journalist Gillian Tett to lead the search for a new generation of women non-fiction writers.

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Does the non-fiction book world have a gender problem? Look at prize shortlists, or review coverage, or some publishers’ lists, and the answer would seem a resounding yes. It is male-dominated – and most particularly in the vital, society-shaping fields of economics and politics. We need to see that change. But blaming individual publishers, awards judges or editors is not the answer: a wider cultural change is required. We want to identify, encourage and promote new women writers, and the New Statesman is delighted to be partnering with Virago for a prize that we hope will do just that.

With the Virago/New Statesman Women’s Prize for Politics and Economics, launched today, we are looking for a new writer on economics or politics who shows originality and rigorous thinking. The winner will have her work published by Virago, the imprint founded in 1973 to publish writing by women. The award will give a debut writer a contract for an essay to be published as a Virago ebook – and an option to make a second contract, for a full-length book.

To enter, writers must submit a 3,000-word proposal. This will be judged by Gillian Tett, the US managing editor and award-winning columnist at the Financial Times as well as author of books including The Silo Effect; Helen Lewis, the deputy editor of the NS; Lennie Goodings, publisher at Virago; and Tom Gatti, NS culture editor. Entries – consisting of an outline of 1,000 words and a sample extract of 2,000 words – must be submitted by 31 January 2016. The winner will be announced in April 2016. The winner will then be asked to develop her proposal into a 20,000-word essay for publication by Virago. For full details of how to enter and terms and conditions visit: virago.co.uk/prize.

Helen Lewis discusses the prize on Sky's Murnaghan:

This article appears in the 29 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Israel: the Third Intifada?