Professor of creative writing wins Bailey’s Women’s Fiction prizeThursday, 8 June, 2017
Bath Spa University’s Naomi Alderman has won the prestigious Bailey’s Women’s Fiction prize for her dystopian novel, The Power.
Naomi, who is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa, was announced as the winner in a ceremony on Wednesday 7 June.
The Power is the first science fiction novel to win the prize and is set in a dystopian future where women and girls can kill men with a single touch.
When asked what inspired her to write the book, Naomi said: “I was on a Tube train a few years ago, in the middle of a terrible breakup. And as the train pulled into the station, I saw a poster on the platform advertising some thriller with the face of a beautiful, terrified woman weeping. And something just broke inside me I thought: “Hey, this thing that you’re doing right now, this terror and crying, we like that. Do more of that. We’re turned on by it. Good girl.”
“And I thought in that moment; what would the world have to be like so I could walk onto the Tube and see a photo of a beautiful man weeping in terror, as if that was normal and desirable? What’s the smallest thing that would have to change? And the whole idea turned up in my head. Just like that.”
Tessa Ross, the chair of judges for the prize, called the novel “a classic of the future.”
Read an interview with Naomi here.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction has been running annually for 21 years. The idea was born from a gathering of people in a flat in London who were disappointed that by 1992, only 10 per cent of novelists shortlisted for the Booker Prize were women.
The news comes as the University celebrates 25 years of teaching excellence in Creative Writing - supporting aspiring writers to achieve their dream of being an author.
As part of the celebrations a summer event for the MA in Creative Writing course was held this week. Organised by author of nine novels, Philip Hensher, the event featured guest presentations from several major writers of great international influence including Neel Mukherjee, Sarah Waters, Alan Hollinghurst and Pascale Petit. Bath Spa University students from the course then asked questions.
Continuing the celebrations, Bath Spa University is challenging people to write a novel in just 25 words. Entries can be any genre and any style but must tell a story and must be 25 words long. Novels will be judged by a panel of successful authors and literary figures, including author, Philip Hensher and Jonathan Dent, senior assistant editor on the Oxford English Dictionary.