Is the battle of the sexes over? Stephen Frears – director of woman-heavy films The Queen, Philomena and Tamara Drewe – certainly thinks so. ‘Women have won,’ he declared at the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction awards last night. ‘Look around you.’ Indeed the Clore ballroom at the Southbank Centre was replete with glamorous females, and not a bitchy aside to be heard.
Kate Mosse’s speech was a call to arms for all woman writers everywhere to keep the faith and keep the sisterhood. Rachel Johnson and Hannah Rothschild applauded fulsomely as Lisa McInerney took to the stage to receive her award, for The Glorious Heresies. Then the crowd surged outside to the terrace where men stuck out like sore thumbs among the phalanx of floral dresses, double kisses and prosecco flutes. Stephen Mangan – never usually one to shy away from being the centre of attention – stayed on the sidelines.
‘I hope I’ve brought my daughters up to celebrate women,’ said Daisy Goodwin. ‘Why wouldn’t you? They’re fabulous.’ Naomi Alderman, first to grab a sofa outside, told us about her hero and mentor Margaret Atwood. They go on holiday to the Arctic and chat books, apparently. Doesn’t sound hugely relaxing to Miss S, but you’ve got to get your feminist kicks somewhere.