Tayari Jones wins 2019 Women’s Prize For Fiction

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
American author Tayari Jones has won the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction with her fourth novel An American Marriage (Oneworld).

Photo: Professor Kate Williams (left) handing winner Tayari Jones the ‘Bessie’ /
© Sam Holden Agency

At an awards ceremony hosted in Bedford Square Gardens, central London – hosted by novelist and Women’s Prize Founder Director, Kate Mosse – the 2019 Chair of Judges, Kate Williams, presented the author with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine. Both are anonymously endowed.

Professor Kate Williams, Chair of Judges, said:

This is an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice. 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 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.

The shortlist included authors Pat Barker, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Man Booker Prize winner Anna Burns, Diana Evans, and Madeline Miller.

The judges for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction are:

  • Professor Kate Williams (Chair), author, historian and Professor of History
  • Arifa Akbar, journalist and critic
  • Dolly Alderton, columnist, broadcaster and author
  • Leyla Hussein, campaigner and psychotherapist
  • Sarah Wood, digital entrepreneur

Women’s Prize Trust

In addition to the Women’s Prize for Fiction winner announcement, aspiring novelist Helen Rogers was named as the winner of the Women’s Prize/Grazia First Chapter Competition for unpublished writers.

This year, the Prize announced it had achieved charitable status as the Women’s Prize Trust. As part of the mission to provide a platform for women’s voices, the Trust will work to grow the educational, research and engagement initiatives on offer.

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