Books

B.C. author Ruth Ozeki wins the 2022 Women's Prize for Fiction for novel The Book of Form and Emptiness

The annual prize recognizes the year's best novel written by a woman in English. Writers from around the world are eligible.

The £30,000 ($46,901.70 Cdn) prize recognizes the year's best novel written by a woman in English

The Book of Form and Emptiness is a novel by Ruth Ozeki. (Viking, Danielle Tait)

The Book of Form and Emptiness by American Canadian author Ruth Ozeki has won the 2022 Women's Prize for Fiction.

The £30,000 ($46,901.70 Cdn) prize recognizes the year's best novel written by a woman in English. Writers from around the world are eligible.

The Book of Form and Emptiness follows a 14-year-old who begins to hear voices around his home after the tragic death of his father. Those voices only get louder when his mother develops a hoarding problem, and the teen seeks refuge in the silence of the local public library.

"A celebration of the power of books and reading, it tackles big issues of life and death, and is a complete joy to read," said jury chair Mary Ann Sieghart.

Ozeki is an American Canadian author, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest who divides her time living in Northampton, Mass., New York and British Columbia. She is the only Canadian author to make this year's longlist and shortlist.

"I'm a dual citizen so I am supported on both sides of the border," said Ozeki upon winning the award. "I would not be here if it wasn't for the support of women and women's institutions. This is why this prize is so important to me."

LISTEN | Ruth Ozeki on The Next Chapter

Shelagh's extended conversation.

Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her other books include the novels My Year of MeatsAll Over Creation, the autobiographical The Face: A Time Code, and the collaborative fiction collection Click.

The prize was announced during the awards ceremony on June 15 in Bedford Square Gardens, London, hosted by novelist and Women's Prize founder director, Kate Mosse.

The other books on the 2022 shortlist included Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini, The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak and The Sentence by Louise Erdrich.

The other 2022 judges include journalist Lorraine Candy, bestselling novelist and podcaster Dorothy Koomson, author and journalist Anita Sethi, and broadcaster and author Pandora Sykes.

LISTEN | Ruth Ozeki on Writers and Company

Three writers were invited to contribute essays to a series called The Face - a look at how our faces do, and don't, reveal who we are. In 2016, they talked to Eleanor Wachtel about the deeply personal experience of writing those pieces.

The Women's Prize for Fiction is established by Women's Prize Trust, a registered charity championing women writers on a global stage.

Last year's winner was English writer Susanna Clarke for novel Piranesi.

Past Canadian winners include Toronto's Anne Michaels for her 1996 novel Fugitive Pieces and Winnipeg's Carol Shields for her 1997 novel Larry's Party.

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