Originally, literary prizes were restricted to the world of academia, but since the 19th century they have grown to become commercial events in the publishing calendar. This article looks at the role of the literary prize as an agent of change by focusing on two prominent prizes in the United Kingdom: the Booker and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. By analysing data from archive material held at Oxford Brookes University, this article argues that the founding of the Women’s Prize highlighted an issue with the Booker and promoted discussion around that issue, and that the Booker reacted positively in the years after the introduction of a competing literary prize.

In: Logos