Entertainment & Arts

Women's Prize for Fiction: Kamila Shamsie wins 2018 award for Home Fire

Kamila Shamsie Image copyright AFP_Getty
Image caption Judges described Kamila Shamsie's winning novel as "a remarkable book"

Kamila Shamsie has won the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction for her seventh novel Home Fire.

It was the third time the British-Pakistani author had been nominated for the award, previously known as the Baileys Prize and Orange Prize.

Home Fire, a reworking of Sophocles' Greek tragedy Antigone, is about radicalisation and family loyalties.

Sarah Sands, chair of judges, said the panel had chosen "the book which we felt spoke for our times".

She said: "Home Fire is about identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics. And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form.

"It is a remarkable book which we passionately recommend."

'Pure joy'

Shamsie said: "I've loved this prize for years. I know its importance in shifting the literary culture of the UK, and in getting books into the hands of readers.

"It's pure joy to have my name added to a list of winners that include the likes of Ali Smith, Chimamanda Adichie and Marilynne Robinson."

Author Kate Mosse, the founder of the prize, hosted Wednesday's ceremony in central London.

Image copyright Sam Holden

The other shortlisted titles were:

  • The Idiot - Elif Batuman
  • The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gowar
  • Sight - Jessie Greengrass
  • When I Hit You - Meena Kandasamy
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing - Jesmyn Ward

Sands, the editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, said it was a "dazzling shortlist - it had depth and richness and variety".

She added: "We were forcibly struck by the quality of the prose. Each book had its champions."

What is the Women's Prize for Fiction?

  • The Women's Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to what judges consider the best novel of the year written in English by a female author
  • It was co-founded in 1996 by Mosse, who believed female authors were often overlooked for major literary prizes
  • Previous winners of the prize include Zadie Smith, Ali Smith, Lionel Shriver and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The winning author receives £30,000 in prize money and a Bessie - a limited edition bronze figurine

Image copyright Sam Holden
Image caption The judges were (left to right): Imogen Stubbs, Katy Brand, Catherine Mayer, Sarah Sands and Anita Anand

The judging panel also included journalist Anita Anand, comedian and writer Katy Brand, journalist and Women's Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer and actress Imogen Stubbs.

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