Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner Announced

CIMG4526Excellent timing, the women’s prize for fiction is announced during the London Literature Festival at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, which I had the opportunity to visit on Saturday (more on that excitement later!).

A strong list, and some equally strong and divided opinions about the books that made the list and a bit of a surprise result, it has to be said.

So to remind you, the six shortlisted authors and their books were:

*

In the opinion of the judges the book chosen mostly ably fulfilled the criteria of the award, being originality, accessibility and excellence.

And the winner was:

May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes

A first book award for her 10th book, a career spanning 25 years and a dream fulfilled at last. The author paid tribute to her father who sadly passed away a month ago, knowing that his daughter had made the short list and also to her grandmother who lent her the money for her first typewriter and made sure she paid it back.

“… this book really struck all the judges, partly because of just the pure quality of its writing, it has this incredible energy, at times its very vicious and very bleak, but it also has this warmth that comes through at the ending… it is one of those books that speaks to people in different ways and really is something that begins conversations and begins thoughts…” Natasha Walter, Judge

The new sponsor has also been announced and there was plenty of the beige drink being served from all accounts, so from next year expect to hear about the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction

Well done AM Homes, up against strong contenders, including the almost invincible Hilary Mantel.

Let’s hope that it’s a good omen for her publisher Granta, after the rapid departure of most of their management team, the publisher/magazine currently having to rebuild itself from scratch.

Looks like I have yet another book to add to the list!

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21 thoughts on “Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner Announced

  1. Glad you were at the Literature Festival – must have been exciting. I have a new book on my summer reading list, too. I love this prize and am glad they found a new sponsor this year.

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    • Very exciting especially as I hadn’t been aware of it being on, and it was a beautiful sunny day so the SouthBank was full of happy people out enjoying themselves, they even had sun loungers out in front of Foyles, the bookstore resident within The Royal Festival Hall, bliss!

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  2. I wasn’t going to read this since I abandoned “This book will save your life”. I’m curious now and I took it off the shelf and brought it home now. Just to see what I have missed. 🙂 I wish Sponsor would stop insisting on putting their names on the prize and just called it Women’s Fiction prize. But I think it is a tradition of book prizes to bear the name of the sponsor but I was hoping why can’t it be more like the Olympics or the French or Wimbledon Open? Everyone is allowed to chip in some money, sponsors get mentioned and then for generations readers will know which book prizes we are talking about!! 😀

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    • I agree, it’s a little unfortunate that someone created the rules of so many prizes today allowing naming rights to change with funding, it affects continuity and even the status of prizes as they can’t help but become associated with the brand. The little breather between sponsors allowing it to be the Women’s Prize for Fiction was excellent, no ambiguity around that!

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      • Exactly! I like that it’s called Women’s Prize for Fiction. Simple and nice, instead of calling it a different thing when a sponsor changes their mind and stop sponsoring.

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  3. I wasn’t going to bother with May We Be Forgiven as I read This Book Will save Your Life when it came out and it made so little impression on me that I can’t remember a thing about it, even when I went back and looked it up to jog my memory. This looks interesting though so if I see it I’ll get it.

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  4. The best part about this is out of all of those books, this was the only one that I hadn’t heard of. I’m so glad it was the winner. Also, have you read Bernadette? I pick it up EVERY SINGLE TIME I’m in the bookstore, but always choose something else over it. I think it’s the book blurb, it just doesn’t sound riveting. However, I hear all these amazing things about it.

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    • I think AM Homes book got the least publicity of them all, there was definitely more of a focus on the UK literature from what I’d seen around. I haven’t read Bernadette I probably will if it crosses my path, though it feels as if I know what it will be like, maybe from the reviews I have read. I like the idea of an epistolary novel if its well done, Sandra Gulland’s books on Josephine Bonaparte really worked in epistolary form.

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  5. I’m really looking forward to reading ‘May We Be Forgiven.’ Of course, I’ll be reading ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ as well. I just needed a little breather after ‘Wolf Hall,’ which I thought was wonderful.

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  6. Interesting! I was so surprised to see “Bernadette” on the list. Our book club read it, but I just couldn’t get into it and finally abandoned it. All the other women seemed to like it a lot, so maybe I gave up too early. It seemed to me like she was trying too hard to be bright and bubbly and terribly unique and trendy, and it just turned me off. If I had know it was a “contender” I may have tried harder to like it, or at least discover why others found it so worthy.

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    • It’s interesting that you followed your reader instinct and weren’t influenced by the knowledge of it being nominated. I haven’t read it, though think I get what the attraction might be. Even some who loved it were surprised to see it make the list. I’m not sure whether finishing it would have changed your view, but at least you had the insight of your fellow book club readers. It’s often interesting to have well articulated divergent views shared.

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