Writer, founder of the Staunch Book Prize

Bridget Lawless

The idea of running a new book prize that openly refuses to reward violence against women came as a flash of inspired frustration – and now look what’s happened.

An amazing wave of support has run behind this project from the start, bringing it to life very quickly. From that response, clearly it’s timely and wanted. I’m certainly not alone in getting increasingly fed up and disgusted with fictional depictions of violence happening to women in books, films and television. It echoes, exaggerates, fetishises and normalises what happens to women in the real world. But I know there are writers creating thrilling and complex work without going there.

On a personal level, it’s made me completely re-examine my own writing. I’ve been just as guilty of falling blindly into those old clichés. That’s proving a fascinating journey in itself and I’m planning to develop teaching and discussion materials to help writers, editors, teachers and book groups think about these issues. When I get a moment, that is.

Good luck to all who are entering their work in the competition. I look forward to reading every word.


Actor, writer, comedian

Doon first came to fame in the all-woman sketch show Smack the Pony. She’s never shied away from daring and outspoken roles on stage and screen. Controversy has inspired some of her boldest performances – and some of her funniest.

Like many women, she’s become increasingly put off by the endless depiction of violence towards women on screen. In October 2016, she wrote and presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary called Body Count Rising which explored many aspects of the subject, including what it’s like to be the woman playing the on-screen victim of violent assault.

For all the reasons above, and more, she’s delighted to be one of the judges of the first Staunch Book Prize.

Listen to Body Count Rising HERE.


Literary Agent

Piers is an agent at Sheil Land Associates, a long established literary, theatrical and film agency. The highlights of his list range from the multi-million copy bestseller Nadine Dorries, Roald Dahl Prize winner Jamie Thomson and, most relevantly a forthcoming thriller by a young American author. Her debut novel meets all the criteria of the Staunch Book Prize, but sadly can’t be entered as Piers is now a judge!

Piers says ‘I‘ve long been baffled by the persistent ubiquity of certain types of violence towards women as plot devices and am thrilled and delighted to have the opportunity to be part of a process which will I hope take story telling away from the tropes of the past into fresher and more exciting territory.


Editor, Associate Reader

A native Londoner, where she last worked at The New Statesman, Elaine has spent the greater part of her life in the U.S. Based first in Boston, in the editorial department of Little, Brown & Company she was assistant to the editor-in-chief and responsible for reading the unsolicited manuscripts. After a move to New York City, for some 20 years she was a senior articles editor at Gourmet, a food and travel magazine.

She, too, and perhaps especially as the mother of a daughter, has become increasingly disturbed by the ubiquitous depiction in movies, TV and in novels, of violence against women as normal and, worse, titillating.