If you're keen on some serious value-added reading this summer, then you're undoubtedly obliged to take into consideration the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner who was announced a week ago. One of the most respected, most celebrated and most successful literary awards in the world was snatched by an American novelist Tayari Jones and her fourth novel An American Marriage.
Besides An American Marriage, the shortlist consisted of very strong and already award-winning entries, such as Anna Burn's Milkman, Pat Baker's The Silence of the Girls, Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, The Serial Killer, Diana Evans' Ordinary People and Madeline Miller's Circe.
Tayari Jones tells a story of the newlyweds Roy and Celestial who are in pursuit of their American Dream. But one day Roy is arrested for rape he didn't commit and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Celestial knows he is innocent but as the years run by she finds comfort in their best friend Andre. After 5 years in prison Roy is released and comes back home to resume their love and life together.
Explaining the Jury's decision, the Chair of Judges Kate Williams stated: “This is an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice. It is a story of love, loss and loyalty, the resilience of the human spirit painted on a big political canvas – that shines a light on today’s America. We all loved this brilliant book.”
Last year the Women's Prize for Fiction was awarded to Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire.
After it was noticed that the Man Booker Prize shortlist 1991 wasn't enlisting any of female authors, an idea was raised to initiate introduction of a new prize - one which would celebrate women’s creativity, one that would be truly international (nationality or country of residence being no bar to eligibility), one that would have a programme of educational, literacy and research initiatives. Hence - the Women's Prize for Fiction.