Previous Winners

2015


2015 Winner

How to be Both

Ali Smith

"If Woolf and Joyce hadn't both died in 1941, you might think they had a secret love-child called Ali Smith. She explores our humanity with the most beautiful poetic prose." Shami Chakrabarti, Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015 Chair judge.

How to be both is a novel all about art's versatility. Borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it's a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.

2015 Judges

  • Shami Chakrabarti
  • Cathy Newman
  • Grace Dent
  • Helen Dunmore
  • Laura Bates