Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ali Smith wins the 2015 Women's Prize for Fiction with ‘How to be Both’

British novelist Ali Smith has been awarded the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for How to Be Both. (See review on this blog on 6/1/15).

Launched in 1996, the Prize is awarded annually and celebrates “excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.” The winner receives £30,000 (about $46,000) and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie,’ created by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

Shami Chakrabarti, Chair of Judges, said of Smith’s novel: “Ancient and modern meet and
speak to each other in this tender, brilliant and witty novel of grief, love, sexuality and shape-shifting identity.”

How to be Both was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, won the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize and Saltire Literary Book of the Year 2014 award. In 2007 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was made a CBE for Services to Literature in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List.

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in August 1962 and lives in Cambridge. She won the Saltire First Book Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award in 1995 for her first collection of stories, Free Love and has since published three further collections including Other Stories and Other Stories and The First Person and Other Stories.

She is the author of several novels including Hotel World, which was shortlisted for the Booker and the Orange Prize, and The Accidental which won the Whitbread Novel Award. Her non-fiction includes Artful, which won the 2013 Bristol Festival of Ideas/Best Book of Ideas.

Ali Smith, Rachel Cusk, Sarah Waters (top row), Kamila Shamsie, Anne Tyler, and Laline Paull (bottom row).

The other finalists for the prize were Rachel Cusk for Outline (reviewed on this blog on May 27); Laline Paull for The Bees; Kamila Shamsie for A God in Every Stone; Anne Tyler for A Spool of Blue Thread (reviewed on this blog on June 22) and Sarah Waters for The Paying Guest.

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