Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner 2021

On March 10 the longlist of 16 novels was announced, featuring two Irish authors, six British and five American authors, one Canadian, one Barbadian and one Ghanaian/American.

In April it was reduced down to the six below that made the short list.

Womens-Prize-for-Fiction-shortlist 2021

Today, as the winner was announced, Chair of Judges Bernardine Evaristo, said:

“We wanted to find a book that we’d press into readers’ hands, which would have a lasting impact. With her first novel in seventeen years, Susanna Clarke has given us a truly original, unexpected flight of fancy which melds genres and challenges preconceptions about what books should be. She has created a world beyond our wildest imagination that also tells us something profound about what it is to be human.”

The winner is Piranesi by British author Susanna Clarke.

Piranesi Winner Susanna Clarke

Piranesi lives in the House.

Perhaps he always has. In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides which thunder up staircases, the clouds which move in slow procession through the upper halls.

On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food and waterlilies to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone. Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?

Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.

Have you read Piranesi?

Susanna Clarke, on hearing of her win said:

“As some of you will know, Piranesi was nurtured, written and publicised during a long illness. It is the book that I never thought I would get to write – I never thought I’d be well enough. So this feels doubly extraordinary; I’m doubly honoured to be here. And my hope is that my standing here tonight will encourage other women who are incapacitated by long illness.”

Further Reading

NPR : Susanna Clarke Divines Magic In Long-Awaited Novel ‘Piranesi’

Guardian/Observer : Piranesi by Susanna Clarke review – byzantine and beguiling

9 thoughts on “Women’s Prize for Fiction Winner 2021

  1. I was rooting for Transcendent Kingdom, but quite happy that Piranesi won, since I loved that one as well. Actually, I enjoyed all the ones I read from the shortlist, which seemed to be of a high quality this year.

    It was a very moving speech Susanna Clarke made and it really must feel extraordinary after all she has been through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I thought her speech was very moving and I’m definitely going to read Piranesi. It sounds like quite a journey of the imagination. I would have read her earlier novel had it not been so vast and my time for indulging novels at the time so little.

      I’ve just put my review of Transcendent Kingdom up, I enjoyed it very much, but wasn’t as transported as I was by her debut, which was totally my kind of book – as in crossing over into another culture. She’s a talented and inspiring writer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have to be very enthusiastic in order to pick up a very long novel these days. Since I rarely DNF, it feels like such a commitment.

        Yes, of course, our background and personal preferences play a huge role for which books we enjoy. For me Transcendent Kingdom hit all the right buttons, It was a personal story and I love reading about female scientist, neuroscience and the debate of religion vs science. Yaa Gyasi is still relatively young, it will be interesting to see where she goes next.


  2. I’m looking forward to this one for sure. And I recommend JS&MrN too; it does seem awfully intimidating, but it just rips along. I read it with a friend who wasn’t at all sure about it and she ended up loving it just as much as I did. (Yaknow how sometimes just having a reading friend along for the journey can make all the difference in getting over that hurdle…)


  3. Pingback: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – Word by Word

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s