The Women's Prize For Fiction
The Women's Prize for Fiction 2018 Winner:
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
It is our pleasure to announce Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire as the winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018.
A driving, uncompromising portrait of the immigrant experience in Britain, Home Fire movingly asks the question of what we would truly do for love, as a family divided by faith and identity discover the full meaning of sacrifice. With its story based on the arc of Sophocles’ Antigone, Shamsie’s eighth novel fuses the tragedy of myth with the desperate realities of contemporary culture.
Triumphing over an impressive shortlist, Home Fire stands probably unrivalled in its understanding of the British Muslim experience, and the terrible choices individuals are sometimes compelled to make. 'Fearless but hugely troubling,' noted the Times, 'One pays it the highest compliment one can pay fiction: it makes you think.'
The 2018 Shortlist
In a pivotal year for discussion of women’s equality and creative visibility, the 2018 shortlist reflects the sheer variety of women’s lives and experiences, today and throughout history. Containing stories ranging from eighteenth-century England to the American south and southern India, encompassing issues of identity, oppression and the search for selfhood, this is an incredibly strong list.
A novel about the bluffs and blunders of youth and the pleasures and inadequacies of language, The Idiot is a sharply observed and very funny portrait of growing up. Following a Turkish-American student, Selin, as she swims through the academic circles of Harvard, moving from frustrated learning to campus romance, Batuman creates a compelling portrait of a young life in flux . As the Evening Standard affirms it’s, ‘a novel about being young and stupid that’s both wise and clever — and it’s a treat.’
Hailed as this year’s Essex Serpent, Imogen Hermes Gowar’s vibrant debut has already earned a wealth of critical acclaim, with the Daily Express calling it 'a dazzlingly original novel, full of heady pleasures’. Plunging readers headlong into a melee of 18th century London, the discovery of a rare mermaid curio draws together a wayward cast of merchants, courtesans and collectors in pursuit of mystery, fame and fortune. A riotous delight of a novel, irreverent, compelling and tinged with magic.
Echoing the philosophical musings of W.G. Sebald, this is a meditative, composite novel that traverses one woman’s experience of pregnancy and motherhood taking in reflections on grief, psychoanalysis and the invention of the x-ray. Described by the Guardian as a ‘fiercely intelligent and assured first novel’, Sight is strikingly original in its consideration of the limitations of human insight and the extent to which we can ever really know ourselves and others.
By turns lyrically poetic, unflinching and thrillingly paced, Meena Kandasamy’s second novel lifts the lid on cultural constrictions and traditional family values in contemporary India. Trapped in a marriage to a violent psychopath, a young woman attempts to forge a daring rebellion that will either lead to freedom or death. Inspired by the author’s own experiences, this is a gripping novel the Financial Times praises as a timely presentation of ‘a universally recognised quest for freedom and meaning in a world where women are still shockingly undervalued’.
Divided into five sections, each told from a different character’s point of view, Home Fire is a passionate story of desire, family and divided loyalty inspired by the myth of Antigone. Described as ‘brave and brilliant’ by the Times, it’s a novel set against the backdrop of contemporary Islamophobia that subtly and devastatingly questions where we belong, to whom we owe our allegiance and what we dare risk for love.
A blistering new take on the Great American Novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, is both an intimate story of one family’s haunted journey and a confrontation of the reality of life for America’s poor and disenfranchised. The winner of the USA’s prestigious National Book Award for 2017 and selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2017, this is a work of startling empathy and lyricism from one of America’s most talented contemporary novelists.