ALCS-funded research inspires new non-fiction prize for women

The Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction has been launched to address gender inequalities experienced by female writers. These inequalities were identified in the authors’ earnings report that we commissioned last year.

Last year, we commissioned the CREATe Centre at the University of Glasgow to conduct a survey on author’s earnings. It showed that female writers have seen a 16.6% fall in their average earnings in the past five years, and now earn 41% less than their male counterparts.

The findings from the report were cited by the Women’s Prize Trust as one of the motivations for the creation of a new prize for non-fiction, which aims to amplify female voices and attain fairer terms for women non-fiction writers.

Building on this research, the Women’s Prize Trust also found that female nonfiction writers are:

  • Less likely to be reviewed in the UK national media. Only 26.5% of non-fiction reviews in national newspapers were for books written by women.
  • Less likely to appear in the ‘Best Books of 2022’ newspaper articles. Only 33.7% of the non-fiction books selected in 2022 were written by women.
  • Less likely to be shortlisted, or win, non-fiction book prizes. Only 35.5% of books awarded a non-fiction prize in the UK over the past ten years were written by a woman.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction Director, Kate Mosse said: “This is an extremely exciting moment in the history of the Women’s Prize. Since we launched twenty-eight years ago, we have celebrated and amplified the voices of hundreds of amazing novelists, pressing their books into the hands of millions of readers.

“We are confident that our new non-fiction sister prize will do the same for those extraordinary non-fiction authors, many of whom do not receive the attention they deserve. The result is that readers are short changed. We are now seeking corporate partners open to joining our family of sponsors. Together, we can champion exceptional women’s narrative non-fiction on a global stage. This is the time to be bold.”

You can look back at our previous reports into authors’ earnings here.