The Book of Form and Emptiness wins Women’s Prize for Fiction
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate) has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.
“This is absurd. I don’t win things,” Ozeki said, through tears. “And it also feels so unbelievably random because these are some of the most amazing women writers I’ve ever met in my life. You make us all feel like winners, and we are.”
The winner was announced in a livestream from Bedford Square Gardens in London on Wednesday night.
The Book of Form and Emptiness follows fourteen-year-old Benny Oh, who after the tragic death of his father, begins to hear voices and finds companionship in the form of his very own book.
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest, whose books have garnered international acclaim for their ability to integrate issues of science, technology, religion, environmental politics, and global pop culture into unique, hybrid, narrative forms.
Mary Ann Sieghart, Chair of Judges, said: “In an extraordinary year for fiction written by women, and from an incredibly strong shortlist, we were thrilled to choose Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness, which stood out for its sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy.
“A celebration of the power of reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and it a complete joy to read. Ruth Ozeki is a truly original and masterful storyteller.”
Ozeki’s prize is £30,000, and a limited edition bronze figurine called the ‘Bessie’, both of which are anonymously endowed.
The shortlisted titles were Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (Doubleday), Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (Orion), The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agos (Myriad Editions), The Island of Missing Trees by Eli Shafak (Penguin), and The Sentence by Louise Eldrich (Hachette). These titles incorporated a range of themes including belonging and identity; sisterhood; mental illness; gender violence; and the opportunity for renewal.
The winner was chosen by Sieghart and her judging panel: Lorraine Candy, award-winning journalist and editor; Dorothy Koomson, bestselling novelist and journalist; Anita Sethi, award-winning author and literary journalist; and Pandora Sykes, journalist and author.
Previous winners include Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury), Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Headline), and The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (Hachette).