Tayari Jones wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

American novelist Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage has won the Women’s prize for fiction. Less than two months after Tayari Jones won the Aspen Words Literary Prize, her portrait of a young African American’s wrongful incarceration, and its devastating impact on his marriage has claimed another important prize.


“It’s an incredible examination of America and American life, focusing on the intimacy of a marriage but on a huge political canvas,” said chair of judges Kate Williams. The judges selected An American Marriage at a ceremony Tuesday night in London, deliberating for four hours before rewarding Jones with the title and the nearly $40,000 prize.


Jones’ novel beat out five other finalists on the prize's shortlist — two of whom, Anna Burns and Pat Barker, are previous winners of what was formerly known as the Man Booker Prize. This is no surprise as An American Marriage has captured the attention of Oprah and Barack Obama, who both praised the novel—Oprah even adding it to her book club list.

“I’m delighted that Obama read my book and I’m delighted that I had a president in my time that read books and recommended them, who cared about the past and history, who used it to guide us to the future,” she told The Guardian.



The Women’s Prize is the UK’s only book award for fiction by women and has been running for 24 years.


2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist


The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Milkman by Anna Burns

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Circe by Madeline Miller


2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION LONGLIST


The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The Pisces Melissa Broder

Milkman by Anna Burns

Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li

Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn

Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli

Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden

Circe by Madeline Miller

Ghost Wall Sarah Moss

Normal People by Sally Rooney