Last night, the Women’s Prize for Fiction announced Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie as the 2018 winner. Alas, it was the first time in four years that I haven’t been at the winner’s announcement, but I enjoyed watching from afar as the night unfolded. I headed up the social media for the Women’s Prize for Fiction for two years, and attended in the two years since as a guest, thus taking full advantage of the frequent and free-flowing bubbles.
A rework of Sophocles’ Antigone that tells the story of a British family caught up by Isis, Home Fire was praised by the judges as being ‘the story of our times’. The seventh novel by British Pakistani author Shamsie, Home Fire follows three orphaned siblings, elder sister Isma and twins Aneeka and Parvaiz, the latter of whom has left London to work for the media arm of Isis. Sarah Sands, editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and head of judges said they ‘chose the book which we felt spoke for our times … Home Fire is about identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics. And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form. It is a remarkable book which we passionately recommend.’
If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of this prize winning book, you’re in luck, because I’ve teamed up with Bloomsbury to offer three lucky readers of The Literary Edit a copy of Home Fire. Simply subscribe to my blog here, or if you’re already a subscriber, comment below with your favourite book by a woman.
The competition will end next Thursday at 6pm GMT and the three winners will be notified by email.
*** Competition Closed***
About Home Fire
Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew.
Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love?
A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide – confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times.
About Kamilia Shamsie
Kamila Shamsie is the author of six novels: In the City by the Sea; Kartography (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize); Salt and Saffron; Broken Verses; Burnt Shadows (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction) and, most recently, A God in Every Stone, which was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Three of her novels have received awards from Pakistan’s Academy of Letters. Kamila Shamsie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2013 was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.
About the Women’s Prize for Fiction
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women throughout the world.
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19 comments on “Closed | Win: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie”
I mostly read female authors but how about Min Jin Lee as a shout out to a very humble woman doing some amazing things!
I am I am I am – Maggie o’farrell
What an impossible task, to claim a favourite book by a woman! I’ll answer it strictly by number of times read, and that is Frauen by Alison Owings. Although I love fiction, this is actually a series of ethnographic interviews of women who were adults during the Third Reich – wives, mothers, farmers, flack gunners, women who hid Jews, women who were camp guards. I always start it with the intention of learning more about the nature of good and evil. I always finish it with more questions.
So, so difficult to choose one. Impossible. But.. no..The Golden Notebook..no Woman on the Edge of Time. .no..The Secret History. .no..The Mandarins. .no oh golly.. really hard.. my top ten is mostly women.. oh.. The Women’s Room..
Book choices change with age but all of the above stay in my mind/top ten.
Settling on The Mandarins.
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
I love this book so much.
A Little Life! I feel like that’s my answer for everything these days haha
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively and so pleased to see this great novel nominated for the Man Booker 50.
I’m already a subscriber, and while choosing a favourite book at all is SO hard, I’ve got to say On Beauty by Zadie Smith – it’s one of my all-time favourites, and I’ve read it multiple times now. Home Fire sounds brilliant. The only book I’d read on the shortlist was Sing, Unburied, Sing, so I’d love to get stuck into this one! x
My favourite book by a woman is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 🙂
My favorite would be Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!
My favourite book by a woman author is “To Kill A Mockingbird” by “Harper Lee”!
My favourite female writers are Jodi Picoult, Jane Austen, Jane Harper and Holly Bourne. Picking one single book is hard! I can reread The Time Traveler’s Wife.
So hard t choose just one, but I really loved Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy.
I’m sure I’ve subscribed already!
So surprises at my choice- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
I should probably change this answer now that the TV show has become so popular, but I’ve loved The Handmaid’s Tale since I studied it for my A-Levels. It’s the one book I wish I could have written, as the language used is so lyrical and full of double meanings that really deepen the story.
My favourite book by a woman… oh so difficult to choose one.
The Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton were the books that started it all for me, they were the first books I remember reading to myself and I have read voraciously ever since.
I will always love To Kill a Mockingbird I first read it when i was about 14 it will always be a favourite.
A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara what a feast of a book this is. I loved it so much it was overwhelming.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. As a former foster child, this spoke to me in a tongue foreign to any book I’ve ever read. Truly heartwarming.
I loved Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
Almost impossible to choose one. But a book which has always stayed with me is ‘Clan of the cave bear’ by Jean M Auel which I read as a teenager. Brilliant characters and memorable settings, her attention to detail (especially historical references to the Neanderthal period) is amazing.