British Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie has won the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel Home Fire, on Wednesday. Describing it as a book that “spoke for our times”, the Chair of Judges Sarah Sands called it a “remarkable book that we passionately recommend”.
A contemporary adaptation of Antigone, a tragedy by ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, written in the 5th century, Home Fire captures what it means to be Muslim in the West in current times. Set in five locations, similar to the play’s five acts, the books is the seventh novel by Shamsie, who grew up in Karachi and moved to London in 2007. The book, which was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize beat the five other titles on the shortlist for the prize, including Meena Kandasamy’s When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Wife and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing.
“This shortlist is the best way of getting books into the hands of readers,” Shamsie said at the award ceremony in London. The prize, founded in 1996 to “celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world” comes with a cash prize of £30,000.