British writer Naomi Alderman has won the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction for her novel The Power (Viking). Alderman, who was announced the winner at an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday night, will receive £30,000 (approximately $39,000). The annual award is given for a book of fiction written by a woman from anywhere in the world and published in the previous year.
“We debated this wonderful shortlist for many hours but kept returning to Naomi Alderman’s brilliantly imagined dystopia—her big ideas and her fantastic imagination,” says Tessa Ross, who chaired the judging panel. The other judges for the 2017 prize were Sam Baker, Katie Derham, Aminatta Forna, and Sara Pascoe.
The shortlisted writers for the prize were Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀ for Stay With Me, Linda Grant for The Dark Circle, C. E. Morgan for The Sport of Kings, Gwendoline Riley for First Love, and Madeleine Thien for Do Not Say We Have Nothing.
The Power is Alderman’s fourth novel and is set in a dystopian future in which a genetic mutation allows women to electrocute people at will. Critics have likened the book, which Alderman dedicated to Margaret Atwood and her husband Graeme Gibson, to Atwood’s classic dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Alderman, who is forty-two and lives in London, also writes video games and teaches at Bath Spa University.
Previous winners of the prize include Lisa McInerney, Ali Smith, Eimear McBride, Barbara Kingsolver, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction, the prize was sponsored by the liqueur company Baileys starting with the 2014 prize. In January of this year it was announced that the prize will no longer be sponsored solely by Baileys but by a group of brands and businesses. The prize will now be called the Women’s Prize for Fiction.