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Ruth Ozeki's 'The Book of Form and Emptiness' wins Women's Prize for Fiction 2022

Last night, Ruth Ozeki was announced as the winner of this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 with her fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness: an inventive, bold, human novel that tells the story of a thirteen-year-old-boy who, after the tragic death of his father, starts to hear the voices of objects speaking to him.

At an awards ceremony in Bedford Square Gardens, central London – hosted by novelist, playwright and Women’s Prize Founder Director Kate Mosse – the 2022 Chair of Judges, Mary Ann Sieghart, presented the author with the £30,000 prize, endowed by an anonymous donor, and the ‘Bessie’, a limited-edition bronze figurine by Grizel Niven.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the greatest international celebrations of women’s creativity now in its 27th year – honours outstanding, ambitious, original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world. More information can be found here.

Chair of judges and bestselling writer Mary Ann Sieghart says:

In an extraordinary year for fiction written by women, and from an incredibly strong shortlist, we were thrilled to choose Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness, which stood out for its sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy. A celebration of the power of books and reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and is a complete joy to read. Ruth Ozeki is a truly original and masterful storyteller.

About the Book

The Book of Form and Emptiness blends memorable characters, a riveting plot and a vibrant engagement with a variety of themes, including grief and loss, growing up, neurodiversity, climate change, jazz and our attachment to material possessions. Asked about her inspiration for writing the novel, Ruth Ozeki said:

‘As a child, I related to objects as though they were semi-sentient, and even now I think about the stories that things could tell if only they could speak. Do things (trees, pebbles, toaster ovens, nuclear reactors, etc.) speak? Can they teach us about life? About reality? Obviously, the answer is yes, if we could only learn to listen.’

Find out what reading groups thought of The Book of Form and Emptiness and the other shortlisted titles with our review article.

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