Kamila Shamsie’s ‘Home Fire’ wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

Pakistani novelist, Kamila Shamsie speaks as she attends the first day of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival. (File photo: AFP)

Pakistani-British writer Kamila Shamsie has won the international Women’s Prize for Fiction with “Home Fire” a novel about love, radicalism and conflicting loyalties in the post-9/11 era.

Shamsie was awarded the $40,000 prize at a ceremony in London Wednesday. Loosely based on Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy “Antigone” her novel centers on three British Muslim siblings torn apart when one joins the Islamic State group.

Journalist Sarah Sands, who chaired the judging panel, called it a story of “identity, conflicting loyalties, love and politics” that “spoke for our times.”

Shamsie beat five other finalists. They included American writer Jesmyn Ward, who had been bookies’ favorite for her National Book Award-winning novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing.”

Founded in 1996, the prestigious prize is open to female English-language writers from around the world.

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