Women’s prize for fiction goes to ‘utterly moving’ Tayari Jones novel

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An American Marriage, recording the damage done to a young black couple by the husband’s wrongful jailing, beats two Booker winners to £30,000 award

American novelist Tayari Jones’s portrait of a young African American’s wrongful incarceration, and its devastating impact on his marriage has beaten two Booker prize winners to take the Women’s prize for fiction.

Described by chair of judges Kate Williams as a book that “shines a light on today’s America”, Jones’s fourth novel An American Marriage won the £30,000 award on Wednesday night. With fans including Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, the novel follows ambitious newlyweds Celestial and Roy. “We’re not your garden-variety bourgeois Atlanta Negroes where the husband goes to bed with his laptop under his pillow and the wife dreams about her blue-box jewelry. I was young, hungry and on the come-up. Celestial was an artist, intense and gorgeous,” it begins.

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