We’re delighted that Naomi Alderman’s The Power, published by Viking, has become the first science fiction novel to scoop the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction. The thriller, set in a dystopian future where women and girls can kill men with a single touch, was the favourite on the shortlist and the chair of judges, film and TV producer Tessa Ross, said that the book was a clear winner of the £30,000 prize: “This prize celebrates great writing and great ideas and The Power had that, but it also had urgency and resonance.” The judges, she added, had been impressed by Alderman’s handling of the big issues that affect all humanity, from greed to power, and predicted the novel would be “a classic of the future”. Ross went on to describe the book as “bold, accessible and beautifully written”.
It is not the first time Alderman has stood on the winning podium at the women’s prize for fiction: ten years ago, she won the 2006 Orange award for new writers with her debut, Disobedience. The Power looks set to be a popular win. The novel was nearly ditched by the 42-year-old writer. In an interview with the Guardian, she said that she had been 200,000 words into another book when she decided it was not working and abandoned it to start The Power. Alderman made an explicitly feminist winner’s speech in which she avowed: “The Women’s Movement has made my life possible. Women writers have changed my life.”
Naomi Alderman’s publisher at Viking, Mary Mount, commented: “All of us at Viking are so proud to be Naomi Alderman’s publisher and to see her win this wonderful prize. The Power is one of those extraordinary books – a truly thrilling read and a book that genuinely makes you think again about the world you thought you knew.”