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British author Susanna Clarke has won the £30,000 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her second novel Piranesi, published by Bloomsbury. The presentation was made by the chair of the judges, novelist Bernadine Evaristo, at an in-person party in Bedford Square gardens in Bloomsbury, just 50 yards from her publisher’s offices which are also in the square.
Piranesi is a fantastical work of fiction, poetic and beguiling, one that either has its readers spellbound or flabbergasted. The publisher says: ‘Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has. In his notebooks, day after day, he makes a clear and careful record of its wonders: the labyrinth of halls, the thousands upon thousands of statues, the tides which thunder up staircases, the clouds which move in slow procession through the upper halls…’
The Times called it ‘“a second novel that is close to perfect”; whilst the Washington Post praised it for being “infinitely clever”, claiming the novel “resonated with a planet in quarantine”.
Evaristo said: “We wanted to find a book that we’d press into readers’ hands, which would have a lasting impact. With her first novel in seventeen years, Susanna Clarke has given us a truly original, unexpected flight of fancy which melds genres and challenges preconceptions about what books should be. She has created a world beyond our wildest imagination that also tells us something profound about what it is to be human.”