Barbara Kingsolver receives her second Women’s Prize for Fiction award.

The 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction has been awarded to Barbara Kingsolver, making her the first recipient to receive the honour twice in the prize’s 28-year history.

Kingsolver’s reimagined version of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, Demon Copperhead, which is set in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia in the US and won the Pulitzer Prize, was picked as the winner. It follows the main character as he deals with foster care, forced labour, addiction, and other issues in a society that ignores rural areas.

The Lacuna, a piece by the author, earned him the award in 2010. 2013 saw her on the short list for Flight Behaviour. The finest full-length novel of the year written by a woman and released in the UK receives the Women’s prize, worth £30,000.

The judges this year included author Rachel Joyce, journalist, podcaster, and writer Bella Mackie, novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie, and Labour MP Tulip Siddiq. Louise Minchin, a broadcaster and writer, served as the panel’s chair.

Demon Copperhead, according to Minchin, is a “towering, profoundly significant book” that serves as a “exposé of modern America, its opioid crisis, and the harmful treatment of underprivileged and maligned communities.”

Kingsolver’s book was chosen as the winner by the panel of judges, who were all in agreement. According to Minchin, the jury was “deeply moved by Demon, his gentle optimism, resilience, and determination despite everything being set against him.”
According to Minchin, Demon Copperhead “packs a triumphant emotional punch and is a book that will stand the test of time.”

Demon Copperhead, according to Elizabeth Lowry’s review in The Guardian, “feels in many ways like the book” Kingsolver was “born to write.”

Along with former winner Maggie O’Farrell, who was shortlisted for The Marriage Portrait, the shortlist featured debut novelists Jacqueline Crooks for Fire Rush, Louise Kennedy for Trespasses, and Priscilla Morris for Black Butterflies. Pod by Laline Paull, who had previously been nominated for the award in 2015 for her book The Bees, finished off the shortlist.
According to trade publication The Bookseller, O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait was the best-selling title on the shortlist after selling 72,819 copies by the first week of June. After Kennedy’s Trespasses and the Women’s Prize shortlist, Demon Copperhead had the third-highest sales.

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