By Victoria Brownworth
On June 6, American author A.M. Homes was awarded the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction at a ceremony in London for her novel May We Be Forgiven.
The prize, formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction, was established in 1996 and is awarded to a female author of any nationality who has written a novel in English that has been published in the U.K. in the previous year. The winner receives £30,000 ($46,000) and a bronze sculpture called the Bessie, created by artist Grizel Niven. The long list is announced in March, with the shortlist announced in June. The final choice follows within a week’s time. The judges are “five leading women.”
I had been vacillating over who I wanted to win. The five finalists were Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies, Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior, Kate Atkinson, Life After Life, Zadie Smith, NW, Maria Semple, Where’s You Go, Bernadette and the winner, A.M. Homes, May We Be Forgiven.
Both Kingsolver and Smith had won in previous years. Mantel has won so many awards, The Women’s Prize may be the only one she doesn’t have and she was the heavy favorite to win for the second in her exciting and muscular historical trilogy. She previously won the Man Booker Prize in 2012 for Bring Up the Bodies.
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