Naomi Alderman Wins 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
19.30, London, 7th June 2017: British author Naomi Alderman has won the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her fourth novel The Power (Viking).
At an awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London – hosted by novelist and Prize Co-Founder, Kate Mosse – the 2017 Chair of Judges, Tessa Ross presented the author with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine. Both are anonymously endowed.
Tessa Ross, Chair of Judges, said: “The judges and I were thrilled to make this decision. We debated this wonderful shortlist for many hours but kept returning to Naomi Alderman’s brilliantly imagined dystopia – her big ideas and her fantastic imagination.”
The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction — one of the biggest international celebrations of women’s creativity — is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction celebrating excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. 2017 marks the 22nd year of the Prize. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.
The judges for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction are:
Tessa Ross (Chair), CEO House Productions
Sam Baker, Journalist, Author and Co-Founder of The Pool Katie Derham, Presenter and Broadcaster
Aminatta Forna, Novelist, Memoirist and Essayist
Sara Pascoe, Comic and Author
Alderman’s win comes just over a decade after her debut novel Disobedience, won the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers. Set up in 2005,to mark the 10th anniversary of the Orange Prize*, the emphasis of the Award was on emerging talent and the evidence of future potential.
“Congratulations to Naomi Alderman – her winning novel The Power is a wonderful example of the exceptional writing the Prize champions, ” commented Syl Saller, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo. “Baileys is enormously proud to partner with the Prize who have created an open platform for the sharpest, smartest, most compelling women’s writing in the English language.”
Previous winners are – Lisa McInerney for The Glorious Heresies (2016), Ali Smith for How to be Both (2015), Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (2014), A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven (2013), Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles (2012), Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (2010), Marilynne Robinson for Home (2009), Rose Tremain for The Road Home (2008), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004), Valerie Martin for Property (2003), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (2002), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), Linda Grant for When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), Suzanne Berne for A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999), Carol Shields for Larry’s Party (1998), Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997), and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).
The awards took place in The Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, central London. In addition to the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner announcement, aspiring novelist Georgina Roberts was named as the winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize/Grazia First Chapter Competition for unpublished writers.
Further information on the winning book and author follows.
Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future. Her new novel, The Power, was published at the end of October 2016. All of her novels have been chosen for BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime slot. Her prize-winning short fiction has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of anthologies. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. Naomi was lead writer on the alternate reality game Perplex City and has written online games for Penguin and the BBC. In 2011 she wrote the Doctor Who tie-in novel Borrowed Time. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling smartphone fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run! Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes frequently for the Guardian. She is one of the presenters
of Science Stories, a programme about the history of science on BBC Radio 4, as well as presenting many one-off documentaries. Naomi is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, has been mentored by Margaret Atwood and in April 2013 she was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in their once-a- decade list.
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The Power is a feminist science fiction novel which follows four main characters as they pick their way across a changed world in which all women have developed the power to electrocute people at will. Roxy is the daughter of a London crime family, Tunde is a young journalism student in Lagos, Allie comes from a troubled background in the South of the USA, and Margot was a low-level politician in New England but begins to have new ambitions.
This novel of ideas explores what would happen if women had the power to cause pain and destruction. Alderman asks readers whether they really believe that women are naturally peaceful and nurturing and how much of gender is in our expectations of violence.
At the novel's heart is the question of power: who has it, how do you get it, what does it do to you when you've got it? And when you wield the power, how long will it be before the power wields you?