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Author Kate Mosse awarded CBE in 2024 New Year Honours list

Kate Mosse who has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours list, for services to literature, to women and to charity <i>(Image: Ian West/PA Wire)</i>
Kate Mosse who has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours list, for services to literature, to women and to charity (Image: Ian West/PA Wire)

Author Kate Mosse has said she sees her CBE as a recognition of the importance of The Women’s Prize for Fiction, of which she is a co-founder, as she was named in the New Year Honours.

The novelist, 62, whose books have been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries, is best known for the bestselling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and The Joubert Family Chronicles – The Burning Chambers, The City Of Tears and The Ghost Ship.

She has been made a CBE for services to literature, to women and to charity.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction, of which she is a co-founder, is now one of the biggest literary prizes in the world and Mosse told the PA news agency that everybody involved in it “deserves all the accolades they could have”, as she applauded the “group effort”.

She added: “Quite often those things do get overlooked, not deliberately, but just there isn’t a system for them.

“So it does feel that although obviously this is for me, it’s very much an acknowledgement of the importance of the Women’s Prize, and that it matters that women support other women.”

Addressing the importance of the work of the prize, which has previously gone to Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead, Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and Madeline Miller’s The Song Of Achilles, Mosse said: “There is still a tendency for women to read books that they like, whether they’re by women or by men, and male readers, not all of them of course, but predominantly, and particularly in the world of fiction, to read books by men.

“So if you just have everybody choosing equally, you will always end up with a quarter or so of women only, because women will choose both, and men will only choose men, and that is just simply how it goes.

“The thing about the prize is that it’s about celebrating amazing books by women. And so when people say why do we still need the Women’s Prize, I say ‘Why would you not want to celebrate brilliant books by women? Just explain that to me?’

“Because the prize looks out. It’s about celebrating amazing writing by women, but it’s for male or female, everybody who wants to read.”

Mosse said the focus will now turn to nonfiction, adding: “That is still very much dominated by the idea that men are experts and women are writing about domestic things and dietary things and cooking things.

“All of that is great and important … but only 25% of nonfiction books reviewed are authored by women and when you take out health, and some of those more traditionally female areas, the figure goes down further and further.

“But there is incredible history, incredible politics, incredible social science, incredible physics, women are writing in every field because, of course, it’s about aptitude.

“So it’s wonderful to get this recognition, but it is for the prize itself, really.”

Mosse said she received the letter sharing the news of her gong upon her return home after battling seasickness at the Cheltenham Literature Festival at sea.

She said: “It didn’t look very prepossessing. There wasn’t a seal on it or something that made it look official. I hadn’t even got my glasses on and I kind of read it and thought, what? And so then I got my glasses and read it and that was a very nice surprise to come back to.”

She joked that she has enjoyed her family referring to her as ‘Commander’ ever since she got the news.

She said: “At the heart of The Ghost Ship and in part of book four (of The Joubert Family Chronicles, which is not yet finished) is what they call a she-captain, a woman who captains the ships, who is of course a commander.

“So this is why this has been very funny because my family are going ‘Right, Commander,’ and I like that. So basically, I’m James Bond and that’s all we need to know.”

Mosse is also recognised for her work for local charities in Sussex, where she lives, and Parkinson’s UK, which is a tribute to her father, who died of the disease in 2011.



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