Ruth Ozeki’s ‘complete joy’ of a unique wins Women’s prize for fiction | Books

Ruth Ozeki’s fourth novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, has gained the Women’s prize for fiction.

The novelist, film-maker and Zen Buddhist priest takes the £30,000 award for a ebook that “stood out for its sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy”, consistent with the chair of judges, Mary Ann Sieghart.

Photograph: Canongate/PA

The Book of Form and Emptiness is ready 14-year-old Benny Oh, who starts to listen to voices belonging to the issues in his space after the dying of his father. When his mom develops a hoarding downside, the voices develop louder, so Benny seeks shelter within the silence and calm of a giant public library. There he meets a chain of eccentric characters who train him to hear the issues that actually topic.

The Guardian assessment praised Ozeki’s “calm, dry, methodical good humour and wit, her love affairs with linguistics and jazz and the absurd, her cautious optimism”.

Accepting the award, Ozeki advised the target market it was once “absurd”; she stated she didn’t “win things”. In her speech she thanked the ladies and girls’s establishments who had supported her all through her profession. “I wanted to call out the names of the women who have supported me, because now more than ever this is a time that we need to speak out and rewrite the dominant narratives that have landed us into quite dire straits.”

Ozeki advised the Guardian she felt very thankful to have gained however added: “It’s quite random because any of the books on the long list and shortlist are completely worthy.”

The Book of Form and Emptiness is in part a ebook about listening. Ozeki stated that books had been “unique in that when a reader reads a book she’s engaged in a way” that she would now not be with a TV display or movie. “You need to put yourself into the book,” she stated. “It’s a real dialogue between the reader and the writer. Without the real investment of the reader the book fails.”

Sieghart had stated the radical was once a “celebration of the power of books and reading” which tackled “big issues of life and death”; it was once “a complete joy to read”. She referred to as Ozeki a actually authentic and masterful storyteller.

Joining Sieghart at the judging panel had been the journalist and editor Lorraine Candy, the writer Dorothy Koomson, the journalist and writer Anita Sethi and the broadcaster and author Pandora Sykes.

Ozeki have been in the past shortlisted for the Booker prize, for her 2013 novel A Tale for the Time Being. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foundation and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, the place she teaches inventive writing at Smith College.

She stated she was once impressed to put in writing the radical as a result of as a kid she “related to objects as though they were semi-sentient”, including: “Even now I think about the stories that things could tell if only they could speak.”

At 560 pages, The Book of Form and Emptiness was once the longest ebook in this yr’s shortlist, which additionally incorporated The Bread the Devil Knead by means of Lisa Allen-Agostini, The Sentence by means of Louise Erdrich, Sorrow and Bliss by means of Meg Mason, The Island of Missing Trees by means of Elif Shafak and Great Circle by means of Maggie Shipstead.

Ozeki wins the money prize, endowed by means of an nameless donor, and the “Bessie”, a limited-edition bronze figurine by means of the artist Grizel Niven.

The Women’s prize for fiction, previously referred to as the Orange after which the Baileys prize, introduced in 1996 and is awarded to “the best full-length novel of the year by a woman” written in English and revealed in the United Kingdom.

Bea Carvalho, head fiction purchaser on the store Waterstones, stated it have been an “incredible year for fiction from women”. Ozeki’s ebook had “stood out for its playfulness” and Carvalho stated she was once satisfied to look Ozeki get the popularity.

She added: “It’s lovely to see this love letter to books and reading win. It’s such a gift to booksellers.” Carvalho stated it might be pretty to “introduce Ruth’s work to a wider audience”.

Last yr the award was once gained by means of Susanna Clarke for Piranesi, her follow-up to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Previous winners come with Zadie Smith, Madeline Miller, Ali Smith and Kamila Shamsie.

Leave a Comment