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Susanna Clarke Wins the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Sep 22, 2021

Susanna Clarke’s new novel Piranesi has won the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction. 

Publisher’s Weekly calls this novel “one of the year’s most inventive novels.”  The story starts with journal entries from the narrator, Piranesi, who lives in the house with the master (aka the Other) and 13 skeletons.  The Other is on the hunt for the ‘great and secret knowledge’ from the ancients within the house and recruits Piranesi to help with this endeavor. However, the Other has secret motives, and as the two explore and hunt for this knowledge, Piranesi learns more about himself, his worldview, and his love for the building. 

The chair of the judges Bernadine Evaristo describes Piranesi as profound and impactful: 

“We wanted to find a book that we’d press into readers’ hands, which would have a lasting impact. With her first novel in seventeen years, Susanna Clarke has given us a truly original, unexpected flight of fancy which melds genres and challenges preconceptions about what books should be. She has created a world beyond our wildest imagination that also tells us something profound about what it is to be human.” 

Piranesi is available in multiple formats at the OPL. 

For more information on the Women’s Prize Shortlist, please visit our blog Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist Announced | Ottawa Public Library ( 

The Women’s Prize Trust, through the Women’s Prize for Fiction, promotes women’s writers on a global scale, and works to “.. empower all women to raise their voice and own their story, shining a spotlight on outstanding and ambitious fiction by women from anywhere in the world, regardless of their age, race, nationality or background.”  

They further promote access to women’s stories via online resources, and their podcast.  It was established in 1996, after the 1991 Booker shortlist was announced, which contained no books written by women (Flood, 2021). 

Piranesi By Susanna Clarke
by charmaine_library

2021 Winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction

2021 Women's Prize for Fiction Winner Announcement