Pakistani-British writer wins Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018

Kamila Shamsie bags prize, which honours women fiction writers throughout the world

Islamabad: Pakistani-British writer Kamila Shamsie has won the international Women’s Prize for Fiction for her seventh novel “Home Fire”.


The novel is about love, politics and conflicting loyalties in a world affected by terrorism.

Shamsie was awarded the £30,000 (Dh147,300) prize at a ceremony in London for her latest novel about three British Muslim siblings torn apart when one joins Daesh.

Announcing the winner of the award, chair of judges Sarah Sands said the panel “chose the book which we felt spoke for our times … “Home Fire” is about identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics. And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form. It is a remarkable book which we passionately recommend.”

“Home Fire” is a modern re-imagining of the Greek tragedy Antigone that follows three orphaned siblings. It deals with the linkages between a Pakistani family, their bonds, fears and long-lost hopes, as well as terrorism.

The novel’s astonishing prescience” and “the breadth of its ambition” was praised by the judges as the book anticipated a British Muslim as a Home Secretary and since the novel was released, Sajid Javid was appointed to the role.

Shamsie’s novel topped five other competitors shortlisted for the prize. The other nominated novels are Elif Batuman’s “The Idiot”, Imogen Hermes Gowar’s “The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock”, Jessie Greengrass’s “Sight”, Meena Kandasamy’s “When I Hit You” and Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing”.

“Home Fire” was also long listed for the 2017 Man Booker prize and shortlisted for the Costa novel award. Shamsie has been shortlisted for the Women’s prize twice before and has bagged multiple awards and accolades for her books. She is a vocal supporter of female authors.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prominent annual book award which honours women fiction writers. Founded in 1996, the Prize celebrates women’s voices, originality and creativity in writing women throughout the world.

Profile

Kamila Shamsie, daughter of journalist and fiction writer Muneeza Shamsie, is one of contemporary Pakistani writers who are successful in both Pakistan and the West.

Three of her novels have received awards from Pakistan’s Academy of Letters. Kamila Shamsie 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.

She has a degree in Creative Writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels: In the City by the Sea; Kartography (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize); Salt and Saffron; Broken Verses; Burnt Shadows (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction), A God in Every Stone (shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction) and most recently, Home Fire (winner of Women’s Prize).

Her first four novels are set in her home city, Karachi, Pakistan, were she grew up.

Shamsie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist in 2013.

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