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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Kamila Shamsie wins the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction

The Women’s Prize for Fiction, one of the biggest international celebrations of women’s creativity, is awarded annually and celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility

Kamila Shamsie with her winning novel. AFP 
Kamila Shamsie with her winning novel. AFP 

Kamila Shamsie has won the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel Home Fire (Bloomsbury Circus). The Women’s Prize for Fiction, one of the biggest international celebrations of women’s creativity, is awarded annually, and winners are awarded £30,000 (Dh150,000).

Home Fire is a contemporary retelling of Sophocles’ Antigone. It tells the story of British/Pakistani Isma, who is finally leaving north London to study in America after helping to bring up her twin siblings Aneeka and Parvaiz. But the family's dark secret will come back to haunt them - their father was a jihadi at the turn of the century, who died on the way to Guantanamo Bay.

Sarah Sands, Chair of Judges of the prize said of Shamsie's seventh novel: "In the end we 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.”

In a previous interview with The National, Karachi-born, British-Pakistani Shamsie said “When you write a novel, you have to leave open different ways of interpreting it,” she says. “You can’t be prescriptive. But I hope people might think a little more about the strangely fraught position of British Muslims.”

Here is the moment Shamsie won the prize.

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Read more:

Kamila Shamsie: Tension in Society, family … and faith

Ibrahim Nasrallah on his life, work and philosophy

Book review: Patrick Chamoiseau’s novel tells a strikingly simple story

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