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.

The 2019 judges are Kate Clanchy, Chloe Aridjis, and Owen Sheers. Read the press release here.

2019 Judges

Chloe Aridjis

Chloe Aridjis

Chloe Aridjis is a Mexican writer based in London and the author of three novels: Book of Clouds, which won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in France, Asunder, and Sea Monsters (to be published February 2019). She writes for various art journals and was a guest curator at Tate Liverpool. In 2014 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she has been a judge for the Frieze Writer’s Prize and the White Review Short Story Prize.

Kate Clanchy

Kate Clanchy


Kate Clanchy (chair) grew up in Scotland but now lives in Oxford. She has won a Forward Prize for her poetry, the Writer’s Guild Award for her memoir Antigona and Me and the BBC National Short Story Award. Her novel, Meeting the English, was shortlisted for the Costa Prize. She writes regularly for radio and reviews novels for the Guardian. Kate has taught in schools for 30 years and the acclaimed anthology England, Poems from a School, and her upcoming book of essays, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, both draw on this experience. Kate was awarded an MBE in 2018 for services to literature.

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers is an author, poet and playwright. Winner of the 2018 Wilfred Owen Poetry award, he has published two collections of poetry, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill, which won a Somerset Maugham Award. His debut prose work, The Dust Diaries, won the Welsh Book of the Year and was short listed for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. His first novel, Resistance, was translated into eleven languages and adapted into a film. His most recent novel, I Saw A Man, was shortlisted for the Prix Etranger. He has been a judge for the Costa Awards, the Guardian First Book Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the BBC Short Story Award. He is currently Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.

The Selection Process


Each year, three or five members of the Academy will be invited to judge the Prize.

This year, judges will consider a total of 60 books, which will be nominated by the Academy.

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 Rathbones Folio Prize Constitution.

Previous Winners


The shortlist was announced on 10 February 2014, and the winner was announced 10 March. Lavinia Greenlaw was Chair of the jury comprising writers Michael Chabon, Sarah Hall, Nam Le and Pankaj Mishra.



George Saunders, Tenth of December



Anne Carson, Red Doc

Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity

Amity Gaige, Schroder

Jane Gardam, Last Friends

Kent Haruf, Benediction

Rachel Kushner, The Flame Throwers

Eimear McBride, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing

George Saunders, Tenth of December



The shortlist was announced on 9 February 2015. The winner was announced 21 March. William Fiennes was Chair of the jury comprising The Observer writer Rachel Cooke and writers Mohsin Hamid, AM Homes, and Deborah Levy.



Akhil Sharma, Family Life



Rachel Cusk, Outline

Ben Lerner, 10:04

Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Dust

Akhil Sharma, Family Life

Ali Smith, How to Be Both

Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows

Colm Tóibín, Nora Webster



No prize.



The shortlisted was announced in early April 2017. It was the first year non-fiction and poetry was included in the running. The prize was judged by Ahdaf Soueif, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Rachel Holmes. The winner was announced May 25.



Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between



Laura Cumming, The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velazquez

Hisham Matar, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between

China Miéville, This Census-Taker

CE Morgan, The Sport of Kings

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

Francis Spufford, Golden Hill

Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War



The shortlist was announced in late March 2018. The prize was judged by Jim Crace, Nikesh Shukla, and Kate Summerscale. The winner was announced 8 May.



Richard Lloyd Parry, Ghosts Of The Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone



Elizabeth Strout, Anything Is Possible

Sally Rooney, Conversations With Friends

Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

Richard Lloyd Parry, Ghosts Of The Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone

Xiaolu Guo, Once Upon A Time In The East: A Story of Growing Up

Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13

Richard Beard, The Day That Went Missing

Hari Kunzru, White Tears


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