Kamila Shamsie wins the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018

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

A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’s Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent and fiercely compelling work of storytelling. The novel centres on the Pasha family – Muslim Brits living in the shadow of their father’s terrorism, and the politics of the powerful people who treat them with hostility and contempt.

Sarah Sands, Chair of the judging panel, said that Home Fire was named the winner as it was a book that ‘spoke for our times’. She further commented: ‘ 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.

Readings bookseller Ellen Cregan also praised Shamsie’s masterful control over the novel. In her review, she said: 'For lack of a better word, this book made me ache, and I felt every sentence of it keenly.’

This is the third time that the British-Pakistani author had been nominated for this award (previously known as both the Baileys Prize and Orange Prize). Their winning novel was shortlisted alongside five other terrific books: The Idiot by Elif Batuman, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, Sight by Jessie Greengrass, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy, and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

Sands has this to say of the shortlist: ‘This was a dazzling shortlist, it had depth and richness and variety. We were forcibly struck by the quality of the prose. Each book had its champions. We loved the originality of mermaids and courtesans, we were awed by the lyrical truth of an American road trip which serves as a commentary of the history of race in America, we discussed into the night the fine and dignified treatment of a woman’s domestic abuse, we laughed over a student’s rite of passage and we experienced the truth of losing a parent and loving a child.’

As the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Shamsie receives prize money of £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

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Home Fire

Home Fire

Kamila Shamsie

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