Susanna Clarke has won the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her second novel Piranesi.
The author of her popular debut novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell beat five other books in the shortlist to win the £30,000 prize.
Piranesi is a mystery about a man living alone in a labyrinthine house, and is described by the chair of the judging panel, Bernardine Evaristo, as “a book that we’d press into readers’ hands”.
She added: “With her first novel in 17 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.”
Clarke’s book was among great company in the shortlist, alongside US authors Patricia Lockwood and Brit Bennett, the Ghanaian-American Yaa Gyasi, and Barbadian writer Cherie Jones.
Last year’s winner was Maggie O’Farrell with her novel Hamnet, a fictional take on the tale of Shakespeare’s son.
The novel is described as “intriguing, immersive, and experimental” by BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones, and looks to be on the top of many critics’ list.