Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Kamila Shamsie bags UK’s most prestigious literary award for women

Kamila Shamsie bags UK’s most prestigious literary award for women

Home Fire is the seventh novel by Shamsie, who wins £30,000.

Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire has been awarded the UK's Women's Prize for Fiction, with its contemporary telling of the Greek tragedy of Antigone.

As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to - or defy.

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Shamsie beat out United States authors Jesmyn Ward with Sing, Unburied Sing and Elif Batuman with The Idiot, as well as fan favorite When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy, which examines the social isolation that comes with domestic violence.

Sarah Sands, chair of the judges, said that "in the end we chose the book which we felt spoke for our times". And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form. "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", she said. Pointing to the fact that just under 40% of novels submitted to the Man Booker prize in the five years before were by women, she praised the work done by the Women's prize, which was established in 1996 after the Booker failed to shortlist a single woman. She was earlier shortlisted twice for the Women's Prize - in 2009 for Burnt Shadows and in 2015 for A God in Every Stone. The award, wrote Shamsie three years ago, had helped to "create a space for women in a male-dominated world, giving voice and space to those who wouldn't find them elsewhere". The author is also quite vocal about her support of female authors.

According to BBC, it was the third time that the British-Pakistani writer was nominated for the award, previously known as the previously known as the Baileys Prize and Orange Prize.

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