Women's Prize For Fiction 2020 Goes To Hamnet By Maggie O'Farrell
The fall started with the announcement of the winner of one of the most prestigious literary awards for women. Yesterday the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020 handed its 25th Prize to the writer Maggie O’Farrell for her novel Hamnet.
O’Farrell’s Hamnet, set in 1596 and inspired by the life and death of Shakespeare’s only son, was chosen from a shortlist that included Dominicana by Angie Cruz, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel and Weather by Jenny Offill.
Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Judges, said: “Hamnet, while set long ago, like all truly great novels expresses something profound about the human experience that seems both extraordinarily current and at the same time, enduring.”
The inspiration to initiate the Women's Prize for Fiction dates back to 1991 when the shortlisted novels for Booker Prize were all written by men despite the fact that some 60% of the novels published that year were by female authors. Previously called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction, Women's Prize for Fiction already counts its 25th anniversary of celebrating women’s creative achievements and international writing, whilst also stimulating debate about gender and writing, gender and reading, and how the publishing and reviewing business works.
Each winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction receives £30,000, and a limited edition bronze figurine called the ‘Bessie’ created by the artist Grizel Niven. The winner and other five shortlisted authors also receive a bespoke leather-bound edition of their novel created by Christine Cleaton.