Barbara Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead” wins the Women’s prize for fiction

Barbara Kingsolver has won the 2023 Women’s prize for fiction, making her the first person to win the award twice in its 28-year history, The Guardian reports.

According to the media outlet, Kingsolver was chosen as the winner for her Pulitzer prize-winning novel Demon Copperhead, which is set in the Appalachian mountains in Virginia in the US, and is a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. It follows the title character as he navigates foster care, labour exploitation, addiction and more in a culture that neglects rural communities.

The writer previously won the prize in 2010 for The Lacuna. She was also shortlisted in 2013 for Flight Behaviour. The Women’s prize, worth £30,000, is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written by a woman and published in the UK.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by broadcaster and writer Louise Minchin, who was joined by novelist Rachel Joyce, journalist, podcaster and writer Bella Mackie, novelist and short story writer Irenosen Okojie and Labour MP Tulip Siddiq.

Minchin called Demon Copperhead a “towering, deeply powerful and significant book” and an “exposé of modern America, its opioid crisis and the detrimental treatment of deprived and maligned communities”.

The judges unanimously decided on Kingsolver’s novel as the winner, with Minchin saying the panel was “deeply moved by Demon, his gentle optimism, resilience and determination despite everything being set against him”.

Demon Copperhead, said Minchin, “packs a triumphant emotional punch, and it is a novel that will withstand the test of time”.


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