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How to be both – 2015 Winner

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, 2015 Women’s Prize for Fiction Chair of Judges.

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.

"Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen."

2015 Shortlist

2015 Longlist

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