On June 5th, the Women’s Prize for Fiction winner was announced. A huge congratulations to Tayari Jones who won with her novel ‘An American Marriage’!
Tayari Jones is an American writer with four published novels. ‘An American Marriage’ is her fourth book, published in 2018, which rose in public awareness thanks to its feature on Barack Obama’s summer reading list and a prominent backing from Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club.
Centring around the lives of a young African-American couple, ‘An American Marriage’ deals with issues of racial prejudice, wrongful incarceration, and its effect on interpersonal relationships.
The Chair of Judges, Professor Kate Williams, summarises why the winner was chosen:
“This is an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice. It is a story of love, loss and loyalty, the resilience of the human spirit painted on a big political canvas – that shines a light on today’s America. We all loved this brilliant book.”
Prof. Kate Williams
- Milkman – Anna Burns
- Circe – Madeline Miller
- An American Marriage – Tayari Jones (winner!)
- Ordinary People – Diana Evans
- The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker
The role of the modern woman and her struggle with independent identity is a strong theme which runs through all of this year’s shortlisted novels. What it means to be female in 2019 has endless portrayals, and the Women’s Prize for Fiction shines a bright light on this. Another theme featured the shortlist is mythology, from grand retellings to passing references.
You can have a look at all previous longlists, shortlists, and winners of the Women’s Prize for Fiction here.
Written by women. For everyone.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction was launched in 1996. It has been known as the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction thanks to their sponsorship. The decision to create a dedicated literary prize for women came from a group of men and women in the business from booksellers to journalists including writer and founder, Kate Mosse.
The idea was born out of a discussion about the Booker Prize 1991 shortlist. The list did not feature any women. It’s not that women weren’t publishing books at the time, in fact, the majority of books published that year had female authors.
During the creation of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, they decided to make it an international prize, celebrating the talent of women in writing across the globe.
The prize as it currently stands is £30,000 and ‘Bessie’ the solid bronze figurine for the winner, and all shortlisted authors receive a leather-bound edition of their novel. Being shortlisted for this renowned award naturally spikes a book’s sales and recognition worldwide.
Have you read Tayari Jones’ winning novel? Or any of the other shortlisted books? Let us know your thoughts on the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction in the comments below.