The Rathbones Folio Prize is open to all works of literature written in English and published in the UK. All genres and all forms of literature are eligible, except work written primarily for children. The format of first publication may be print or digital.

The Prize will be awarded in May for books published in the previous calendar year.

2017 Judge Panel

Adhaf Soueif

Adhaf Soueif


Ahdaf Soueif is an Egyptian writer, novelist, and political and cultural commentator. Her fiction includes the short story collections Aisha (1983) and Sandpiper (1996), and the novels In The Eye of The Sun (1992) and The Map Of Love (1999), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her nonfiction includes Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground (2004) and, most recently, Cairo: My City, Our Revolution (2012), a personal account of the first year of the Egyptian Revolution.

In 2008, Ahdaf Soueif initiated the first Palestine Festival of Literature, of which she is the Founding Chair.

Rachel Holmes

Rachel Holmes

Rachel Holmes is the author of Eleanor Marx: A Life (2014), The Hottentot Venus: The Life and Death of Saartjie Baartman (2007), and The Secret Life of Dr James Barry (2007), among others. She also co-edited, with Lisa Appignanesi and Susie Orbach, Fifty Shades of Feminism (2013).

Rachel is currently writing a book about the anti-fascist political activist Sylvia Pankhurst.


Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the author of Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions (1990), Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen (2005) and The Pike (2013), which won the Samuel Johnson Award, the Costa Biography Award and the Duff Cooper Award. Her first novel, Peculiar Ground, will be published in May 2017.

Lucy regularly writes book reviews for The Sunday Times and served as a judge for the WHSmith Literary Award for 10 years.

The Selection Process

Each year, three or five members of the Academy will be invited to judge the Prize. A Chair will be nominated from this group and will lead the judging panel.

This year, judges will consider a total of 60 books, which will be nominated by the Academy. There will be no call-in process this year; publishers will not be invited to write letters in support of additional titles.

The sole criterion for judgment will be excellence: to identify works of literature in which the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression.

From these 60 titles a shortlist of eight will be selected by the judges. The winner will be announced at the annual Rathbones Folio Prize ceremony and presented with a cheque for £20,000.

Further information about the Prize can be found in the Folio Prize Constitution.

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