2019 Women's Prize for Fiction awarded to ‘An American Marriage’ by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, 'An American Marriage' offers a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three unforgettable characters

10 June 2019 - 14:16
'An American Marriage' is "an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice." - Professor Kate Williams: Chair of Judges.
'An American Marriage' is "an exquisitely intimate portrait of a marriage shattered by racial injustice." - Professor Kate Williams: Chair of Judges.
Image: Jonathan Ball Publishers

American novelist Tayari Jones’s portrait of a young African American’s wrongful incarceration and its devastating impact on his marriage, has beaten two Booker prize winners to take the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

This prize, awarded annually, was founded in 1996 to recognise literary achievements by female authors.

The Women's Prize for Fiction is regarded as one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary awards and is awarded to women writers (of any nationality) for the best original full-length novel written in English, published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year.

Previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun), Lionel Shriver (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna), Zadie Smith (On Beauty) and Naomi Alderman (The Power).

About the book:

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career.

Until one day they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit.

Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. When Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns home ready to resume their life together.

A masterpiece of storytelling, An American Marriage offers a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three unforgettable characters who are at once bound together and separated by forces beyond their control.


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