Rathbones Folio Prize: Our Stories and How We Tell Them

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Join us to hear a powerhouse line-up of international female writing talent discuss their recent works, all in contention for this year's Rathbones Folio Prize.

Rathbones Folio Prize

The Rathbones Folio Prize – known as the “writers’ prize” – is the only award governed by an international academy of distinguished writers. The 2023 Rathbones Folio Prize is awarded to books displaying excellence in literature, comprising three category shortlists across fiction, non-fiction and poetry. This year’s shortlisted authors represent internationally renowned talent from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. With Prize money of almost £40,000, the category winners and overall winner of the Book of the Year will be announced on Monday 27th March 2023 at the British Library.


All the shortlisted books are available at https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/rathbonesfolioprize

Alex Clark
Our host

Alex Clark is a critic, journalist and broadcaster. A co-host of Graham Norton’s Book Club, she is also a regular on Radio 4 and writes on a wide range of subjects for the Guardian, the Observer, the Irish Times and the Times Literary Supplement. She is a patron of the Cambridge Literary Festival, and has judged many literary awards, including the Booker prize. She is an experienced chair of live events, and lives in Kilkenny.

Amy Bloom
In Love

Amy Bloom is the author of four novels, White Houses (Granta, 2017), Lucky Us (Granta, 2014), Away (Granta, 2007), and Love Invents Us; three collections of short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out (Granta, 2010), Come to Me, and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, all also published in one volume as Rowing to Eden (Granta, 2015); and a collection of essays, Normal. She is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University. Her latest book, In Love, is an intimate account of losing her husband Brian: from his diagnosis with Alzheimer's and the slow onset of the disease, their journey to Dignitas in Switzerland, where he was helped to end his life, through to her becoming a widow.

NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. When she was eighteen, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her first novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Guardian First Book Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and won a Betty Trask Award, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, the Etisalat Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She has also won the Caine Prize for African Writing and a National Book Award's '5 Under 35'. NoViolet earned her MFA at Cornell University, and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she taught fiction. She currently writes full-time, from wherever she finds herself. Her latest novel, Glory, is an irresistibly original and punchy work inspired by the fall of Robert Mugabe.

Sheila Heti
Pure Colour

Sheila Heti is the author of ten books, including the novels Motherhood and How Should a Person Be?, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She was named one of the ‘New Vanguard’ by the New York Times book critics, who, along with a dozen other magazines and newspapers, chose Motherhood as a best book of the year. She lives in Toronto and Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. Pure Colour, her latest novel, tells the story of a life from beginning to end.

Margo Jefferson
Constructing a Nervous System

The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Margo Jefferson was a theatre and book critic for Newsweek and the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Vogue, New York magazine and New Republic. She is a professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts and the author of Negroland – which was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award – and On Michael Jackson. In Constructing a Nervous System, Jefferson shatters herself into pieces to examine each influence, love and passion that has thrilled and troubled her and made up her sense of self as a person and as a writer – her family, jazz luminaries, dancers, writers, lovers, artists, athletes and stars.

Elizabeth Strout
Lucy by the Sea

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as Oh William!, which is currently shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, The Burgess Boys, a New York Times bestseller, Abide With Me and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize. She lives in New York City and Portland, Maine. At the heart of her latest novel, Lucy by the Sea, are the deep human connections that sustain us, even as the world seems to be falling apart.