Susanna Clarke has won the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction with her second novel Piranesi.
At an awards ceremony in Bedford Square Gardens, London, hosted by novelist and Women’s Prize Founder Director, Kate Mosse – the 2021 Chair of Judges, Bernardine Evaristo presented Susanna with the £30,000 prize, endowed by an anonymous donor, and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine by Grizel Niven.
2021 Chair of Judges Bernardine 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.”
Susanna Clarke, who has suffered from a chronic illness for many years, said: “I have loved being a shortlisted author. I think I will love [being the winner] too, once I get over the shock. Piranesi was nurtured, written and publicised during a long illness, it was the book I never thought I’d get to write, I never thought I’d be well enough. So this feels doubly extraordinary, I’m doubly honoured to be here. My hope is that my standing here tonight will encourage other women who are incapacitated by long illness.”
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.
On Tuesdays and Fridays Piranesi sees his friend, the Other. At other times he brings tributes of food and waterlilies to the Dead. But mostly, he is alone. Messages begin to appear, scratched out in chalk on the pavements. There is someone new in the House. But who are they and what do they want? Are they a friend or do they bring destruction and madness as the Other claims?
Lost texts must be found; secrets must be uncovered. The world that Piranesi thought he knew is becoming strange and dangerous. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
Order your copy online here.