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Shamsie ’94 Home Fire Wins UK’s 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction


Kamila Shamsie ’94 has been awarded the UK’s 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction for her novel Home Fire.

The publisher’s website describes the book: “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.” 

Kamila Shamsie '94
Kamila Shamsie '94, right, signs a copy of her book for Hersheena Rajaram '19, after speaking to the On the Move student group in April 2018.

Sarah Sands, chair of judges, said the panel 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 forms,” she said. 

The Women's Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to what judges consider the best novel of the year written in English by a female author. It was co-founded in 1996 by author Kate Mosse, who believed female authors were often overlooked for major literary prizes.  Previous winners include Zadie Smith, Ali Smith, Lionel Shriver and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

video: Reading of Home Fire

In April, Kamila visited the Hill to meet with students and gave a reading of her seventh book Home Fire. The event was streamed live on Facebook.

Watch reading

Shamsie said: "I've loved this prize for years. I know its importance in shifting the literary culture of the UK, and in getting books into the hands of readers.”

After growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, Shamsie attended Hamilton, graduating in 1994 with a degree in creative writing. She went on to earn her MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught creative writing at Hamilton on multiple occasions.

Home Fire was named to the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2017 longlist. Three of Shamsie’s other pieces have been shortlisted for awards such as the Orange Prize for Fiction and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and several of her novels have received awards from Pakistan’s Academy of Letters.

Shamsie is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist in 2013.

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