Chair of the judging panel, Allison Pearson is an award-winning author and journalist. Allison’s first novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, was translated into 32 languages and sold several million copies. Oprah Winfrey called it, “A Bible for the working mother.” Allison was named Newcomer of the Year at The British Book awards. The novel was later made into a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Allison’s highly praised second novel, I Think I Love You was set in her native South Wales.

Allison Pearson

Allison is now a columnist and interviewer on the Daily Telegraph, having begun her journalistic career as a TV critic on the Independent on Sunday. She appears frequently on radio and television and is presently working on the sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It.

Allison lives in Cambridge with her family and two poodles and is a patron of the Cambridge Literary Festival. She is passionate about her involvement with the Lucy Cavendish Prize, which has helped to bring so many unheard wonderful women’s voices to public attention. Allison’s literary agency, Peters Fraser & Dunlop, offers representation to the prize’s winner, making the Lucy prize very special indeed.


Marilia Savvides is an agent at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. She is interested in upmarket high concept crime, thrillers, horror, speculative fiction and YA novels. She’s also on the hunt for uplifting, quirky book club stories.

Her authors include E.O. Chirovici, author of literary thriller The Book of Mirrors, translated into 37 languages, Georgetown psychology professor Abigail Marsh, and suspense writers Natasha Bell and Hanna Jameson.

She joined PFD in 2012 and is a graduate of UCL and the Columbia Publishing Course in New York. Marilia was also on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University, Exeter College in 2016 and 2017, and is also the judge of the PFD sponsored Manchester University Creative Writing Prize. 

Nicci GerrardNicci Gerrard is a novelist and her list of bestsellers include Missing Persons, The Winter House and The Moment You Were Gone. She has also published a non-fiction book about demetia called Soham: A Story Of Our Times. She co-authors the series of ‘Nicci French’ thrillers with her husband Sean French. As well as being a novelist, Nicci Gerrard is a journalist, a campaigner and a humanist celebrant. In 2016 she won the Orwell Prize for Journalism, for 'Exposing Britain's Social Evils', for a piece exploring the 'language' of dementia.


Eleanor Mills is Editorial Director of The Sunday Times, Editor Sunday Times Magazine and also Chair of Women in Journalism. She writes a weekly column in the News Review section of the paper on social affairs and is a passionate advocate for equality. Eleanor is proud to be a winner of the International Alliance of Women World of Difference Awards for her "contribution to the economic empowerment of women" and was one of four journalists to be shortlisted for Journalist of the Year at the European Diversity Awards 2012. In 2011, she was shortlisted for Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards for her long-form writing in the Sunday Times magazine (the commended entries were an interview with Banksy, an intimate portrait of Samantha Cameron and a piece about women in China). Her publications include Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs: the best journalism by women from the last 100 Years, published by Constable and Robinson. Photo credit @Rankin

Dr Ian PattersonDr Ian Patterson is a widely-published poet, translator and writer, and a Fellow in English of Queens' College, Cambridge. His main interests are in modernism, twentieth-century and contemporary literature, especially poetry. He was awarded the Forward Prize for his poem The Plenty of Nothing in September 2017, and is currently writing a book which looks critically at contemporary literary culture in the UK. He is also working on a new assessment of interactions between writing and politics in the years between 1929 and 1950. Before becoming an academic, he was a second-hand bookdealer. Before that, he worked in Further Education.


Gillian Stern will return to the judging panel this year. She is an editor of literary and commercial fiction, who after 15 years of commissioning books in the social sciences, championed a debut novel that went on to win the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Richard and Judy Summer Reads of Summer Reads. Passionate about fiction and experienced in spotting and editing bestsellers, Gillian is also a successful ghostwriter, having ghosted eight memoirs to dates. She works on a freelance basis as a structural editor for several publishers including Bloomsbury, Orion and Penguin and critiques and edits for many leading literary agencies including Curtis Brown, Conville & Walsh, PFD, RCW, Furniss Lawton, Aitken Alexander and A M Heath. She also works with The Writer’s Workshop, The Literary Consultancy and mentors writers sent to her by agents, publishers and word of mouth recommendations.



Gina DawsonGina Dawson is a recent graduate from the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded First-Class honours in English Literature, along with the William Barcroft Scholarship for academic excellence. Since leaving university, she has edited the debut English novel of an international award-winning author and screenwriter, which is due to be published in 2019. She is passionate about contemporary literary fiction that foregrounds women’s voices and stories.



Dr Lindsey Traub

Dr Lindsey Traub returns to the judging panel in 2018. She is an Emeritus Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, having previously been both College Lecturer in English and Vice-President. Addicted to fiction since childhood, she has spent her working life thinking, talking and writing about it – with a particular interest in 19th Century American women writers who penned the very first ‘bestsellers’. 

In this section

Laura Marshall, Shortlisted Author 2016

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"I will always be grateful to the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, as it was really the first step on the road to everything that has happened since" Laura Marshall, shortlisted 2016

More about the Prize

Our Fiction Prize

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Just how did we choose our winner?

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