American author A.M. Homes has won a prestigious British literary prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, for her novel May We Be Forgiven.
Homes, who is not forthcoming about her sexual orientation but has acknowledged having relationships with both women and men, bested a mix of Brits and Americans for the prize to become the fifth American to win it in as many years. Other finalists were U.K. writers Kate Atkinson, Hilary Mantel, and Zadie Smith, and U.S. authors Barbara Kingsolver and Maria Semple. The winner was announced Wednesday night.
Homes’s winning novel is “a hilarious black comedy, in which a family is torn apart by one man’s rapid descent into murderous insanity,” London’s Telegraph newspaper reports.
Homes told the Telegraph she likes the idea of a book prize only for women, at a time when some others have criticized the concept as sexist. “I do think it’s a good thing,” she said. “Despite a lot of change and growth, we still live in a world where the work of male writers dominates. But more importantly, it’s important to read the hundreds of books that are submitted for this kind of prize and to look at the range of work of women writers, and produce a shortlist that shows that women are writing substantial, powerful big ideas — historical work that goes beyond gender and resonates throughout the culture. That’s a very valid and important thing to take note of.”