Antigone-inspired Home Fire wins Women's Prize for Fiction

Writer Imogen Hermes Gowar said the camouflage effect was ‘a total accident

Writer Imogen Hermes Gowar said the camouflage effect was ‘a total accident

At an awards ceremony hosted in Bedford Square Gardens here by novelist and Women's Prize Founder Director Kate Mosse, chair of judges Sarah Sands presented the author with the prize money of 30,000 pounds and the "Bessie", a limited edition bronze figurine.

She said: "Home Fire is about identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics".

Sands announced Home Fire as the victor of the £30,000 award.

According to Sarah Sands, chair of the judges and editor of BBC Radio 4's "Today" Programme, the decision to crown Shamsie the victor was "unanimous" after several hours of deliberations. And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form.

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Gowar is shortlisted for the award along with Jessie Greengrass, Kamila Shamsie, Elif Batuman, Jesmyn Ward and Meena Kandasamy. "It was extremely hard, because of the richness and variety of the shortlist - imagine how you compare the experience of race in America versus courtesans and mermaids".

Home Fire is a contemporary re-imagining of the Greek tragedy Antigone that follows three orphaned siblings, elder sister Isma and twins Aneeka and Parvaiz, as the latter leaves them to work for Isis.

Home Fire, which was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker prize and shortlisted for the Costa novel award, should also be considered "a really good page-turner", said Sands. She was nominated for her novel The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. Two families' fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love?

In this Wednesday June 3, 2009 file photo, author Kamila Shamsie poses for the photographers ahead of the announcement of the 2009 Orange Book prize for fiction, in London's Royal Festival Hall.

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