Pakistani-British writer Kamila Shamsie‘s seventh novel ‘Home Fire’ has bagged the Women’s Prize for Fiction. On 6th June, Shamsie was awarded the 30,000 pounds ($40,000) prize at a ceremony in Bedford Square Gardens in central London.
The author is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist in 2013. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.
About Home Fire
Home Fire is about love, radicalism and family loyalties in the post-9/11 era. Shamsie writes about the tale of two British Muslim families set in the backdrop of contemporary London. It explores contemporary issues such as Muslim identity, racism, extremism and the class system. The book is loosely based on Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy “Antigone” and has been published by Bloomsbury.
The book has been acclaimed by the judges as a “story of our times”.
Journalist Sarah Sands, who chaired the judging panel, said the panel preferred “the book which we felt spoke for our times”. She asserted that the book is about identity, love, politics and conflicting loyalties. “And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form.”
“It is a remarkable book which we passionately recommend.”
This is the third time that Shamsie has been nominated for the award. A vocal supporter of female authors, Shamsie beat five other finalists. They included US author Jesmyn Ward’s novel, Unburied Singh, for which she won the National Book Award prize, and Imogen Hermes Gowar’s debut, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
Sarah Sands, the editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said, “It was extremely difficult, because of the richness and variety of the shortlist – imagine how you compare the experience of race in America versus courtesans and mermaids. But when we set out to decide what felt like the story of our times, [Home Fire] was the right choice.”
Sands praised Shamsie’s novel as “astonishing prescience” and “the breadth of its ambition”.
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.
Women’s Prize for Fiction
The Women’s Prize for fiction is awarded annually to the best novel of the year by a female author. The prestigious award was founded in 1996. It was previously known as the Baileys Prize for Fiction until 2016 and the Orange Prize for Fiction between 1996 and 2012. The award celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.
Deepali Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV