Feminist sci fi novel scoops top literary award

Naomi Alderman's book The Power was named winner of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction.
Naomi Alderman's book The Power was named winner of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction.
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A science fiction novel has won the coveted Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction for the first time.

Naomi Alderman’s feminist sci fi book The Power was named as the winner of the £30,000 award in a ceremony last night, with judges dubbing it a “classic of the future.”

The book, Ms Alderman’s fourth, beat off competition from Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, whic h was shortlisted for the Man Booker- prize and The Dark Circle by previous winner Linda Grant, as well as Ayòbámi Adébáyo’s debut Stay With Me and Gwendoline Riley’s First Love, as well as C E Morgan’s The Sport of Kings.

Chair of the judging panel, TV and film producer Tessa Ross, said the panel had debated hard over the decision. She said: “This prize celebrates great writing and great ideas and The Power had that, but it also had urgency and resonance.”

Ms Alderman said: “Women’s writing has changed my life. Writers in the feminist tradition have shown me wider ambition and purpose and possibility for my life. What I wanted to do with this book was to be part of that amazing conversation about what women can achieve and be and it is only just beginning.”

The panel also included broadcaster Katie Derham, novelist Aminatta Forna, comedian Sara Pascoe and Sam Baker, co-founder of The Pool website.