An American Marriage by Tayari Jones wins the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

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American author Tayari Jones has won the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction with her fourth novel An American Marriage (Oneworld).

At an awards ceremony hosted in Bedford Square Gardens, central London – hosted by novelist and Women’s Prize Founder Director, Kate Mosse – the 2019 Chair of Judges, Kate Williams presented the author with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine. Both are anonymously endowed.

Professor Kate Williams, Chair of Judges, said:

“This is an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice. It is a story of love, loss and loyalty, the resilience of the human spirit painted on a big political canvas – that shines a light on today’s America. We all loved this brilliant book.”

The Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the biggest international celebrations of women’s creativity – is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction celebrating excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.





The judges

The judges for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction are:

Professor Kate Williams (Chair), author, historian and Professor of History

Arifa Akbar, journalist and critic

Dolly Alderton,columnist, broadcaster and author

Leyla Hussein, campaigner and psychotherapist

Sarah Wood, digital entrepreneur

In addition to the Women’s Prize for Fiction winner announcement, aspiring novelist Helen Rogers was named as the winner of the Women’s Prize/Grazia First Chapter Competition for unpublished writers.

Now in its 24th year, the Prize aims to put exceptional quality literature from all over the world into the hands of male and female readers of all ages.

About An American Marriage

Celestial and Roy are a newlywed couple with a bright future; the embodiment of the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into a routine, their lives are derailed by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love she’s built her life around until now. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This is a powerful story about love and family, injustice and strength. Through An American Marriage Tayari Jones proves she is not just a masterful storyteller, but also a visionary writer, unafraid to address important issues about race, class and society head-on.

Get involved

What do you think of An American Marriage? Add your comments below.

See the full shortlist and longlist.

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WomensPrize. Keep up with all the latest news, and find out about the 2019 partners, on the Women’s Prize for Fiction website.

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