Monday 26 August 2019

An American Marriage wins Women’s Prize For Fiction

Judges said the book was an ‘exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice’.

Tayari Jones picked up the award for An American Marriage (Stand Agency/PA)
Tayari Jones picked up the award for An American Marriage (Stand Agency/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Tayari Jones’ novel An American Marriage has won the Women’s Prize For Fiction.

Described as a “timely commentary on modern American life”, it tells the story of a “marriage shattered by racial injustice”.

The novel has already won rave reviews from TV host Oprah Winfrey, who is said to be planning a movie adaptation, and former US president Barack Obama.

Anna Burns’ Booker Prize-winning novel Milkman was also on the shortlist.

US author Jones, who has published four novels, was hailed by judges as a “voice we need now perhaps more than ever”.

Professor Kate Williams, chairwoman of the judges, called the novel a “wonderful book, heartbreaking and heartwarming”.

“It is a marriage broken up by racial injustice but on this big, political scale,” she said.

Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist 2019 (Sam Holden Agency/PA)

“It is a big, timely story on what is going on in the world.”

She said the meeting between judges had been “long and passionate” and the decision was a “close-run thing”.

“This is an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice,” Prof Williams said.

“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.”

The shortlist also featured The Silence Of The Girls by Pat Barker; My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite; Ordinary People by Diana Evans; and Circe by Madeline Miller.

The author was presented with a £30,000 prize at the award ceremony in central London.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction celebrates “excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world”.

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