Previous Winners


2002 Winner

Bel Canto

Ann Patchett

Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV.

Among the hostages are a world class opera singer and her biggest fan, a Japanese tycoon who has been persuaded to attend the party on the understanding that she will perform half a dozen arias after dinner. The tycoon’s engaging and sympathetic translator plays a vital role in the subsequent relationships between so many different nationalities closeted together, interpreting not only the terrorists’ negotiations but also the language of love between lovers who cannot understand what the other is saying. Ultimately, it is the terrorist strike that does more to promote foreign relations than anyone could have hoped to achieve with the party.

2002 Judges

  • Sue MacGregor CBE
  • AL Kennedy
  • Fiona Shaw CBE
  • Julie Wright
  • Professor Gillian Beer DBE

The 2002 Shortlist

Discover the brilliant books of the 2002 Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist

The 2002 Longlist

Discover the brilliant books of the 2002 Women's Prize for Fiction longlist

Featured Podcasts

Listen to the Chair of Judges from each year discussing their winning book on BBC Woman's Hour

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