Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood

Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor. In 1843, a 16-year-old Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks was tried for the murder of her employer and his mistress.

The sensationalistic trial made headlines throughout the world, and the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Yet opinion remained fiercely divided about Marks – was she a spurned woman who had taken out her rage on two innocent victims, or was she an unwilling victim herself, caught up in a crime she was too young to understand? Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane.

In Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood reconstructs Marks’s story in fictional form. Her portraits of nineteenth-century prison and asylum life are chilling in their detail. The author also introduces Dr. Simon Jordan, who listens to the prisoner’s tale with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief. In his effort to uncover the truth, Jordan uses the tools of the then rudimentary science of psychology. Dr. Simon Jordan is an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances? But the last word belongs to the book’s narrator – Grace herself.

Explore the other winners

Winner announced - 9th September

Stay in the loop

Enter your email to be the first to know the latest news from the Women's Prize For Fiction

VOTE

Vote for your favourite #WomensPrize winner

Cast your vote for your favourite #ReadingWomen book and decide who will be our Winner of Winners in our 25th year.

Favourite book Live

  • A Spell of Winter
    4% 136 / 2.8k
  • Fugitive Pieces
    1% 50 / 2.8k
  • Larry's Party
    1% 40 / 2.8k
  • A Crime in the Neighborhood
    0% 22 / 2.8k
  • When I Lived in Modern Times
    0% 23 / 2.8k
  • The Idea of Perfection
    0% 16 / 2.8k
  • Bel Canto
    3% 113 / 2.8k
  • Property
    0% 12 / 2.8k
  • Small Island
    8% 254 / 2.8k
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
    7% 209 / 2.8k
  • On Beauty
    3% 101 / 2.8k
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
    20% 577 / 2.8k
  • The Road Home
    2% 61 / 2.8k
  • Home
    2% 76 / 2.8k
  • The Lacuna
    2% 74 / 2.8k
  • The Tiger's Wife
    1% 39 / 2.8k
  • The Song of Achilles
    11% 341 / 2.8k
  • May We Be Forgiven
    1% 36 / 2.8k
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
    2% 76 / 2.8k
  • How to be Both
    4% 120 / 2.8k
  • The Glorious Heresies
    2% 65 / 2.8k
  • The Power
    5% 148 / 2.8k
  • Home Fire
    5% 171 / 2.8k
  • An American Marriage
    5% 163 / 2.8k
Win a set of our 2020 shortlist!

Sign up for the Women's Prize for Fiction newsletter and win a stack of this year's six shortlisted books.

(We will send you occasional emails full of author interviews, extracts and audio, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Please read our privacy policy for more information).