Island Of Wings

Karin Altenberg

On the ten-hour sailing west from the Hebrides to the islands of St Kilda, everything lies ahead for Lizzie and Neil MacKenzie. Neil is to become the minister to the small community of islanders and Lizzie, his new wife, is pregnant with their first child. Neil’s journey is evangelical: a testing and strengthening of his own faith against the old pagan ways of the St Kildans, but it is also a passage to atonement.

For Lizzie – bright, beautiful and devoted – this is an adventure, a voyage into the unknown. She is sure only of her loyalty and love for her husband, but everything that happens from now on will challenge all her certainties. As the two adjust to life on an exposed archipelago on the edge of civilization, where the natives live in squalor and subsist on a diet of seabirds, and babies perish mysteriously in their first week, their marriage – and their sanity – is threatened. Is Lizzie a willful temptress drawing him away from his faith? Is Neil’s zealous Christianity unhinging into madness? And who, or what, is haunting the moors and cliff-tops? Exquisitely written and profoundly moving, Island of Wings is more than just an account of a marriage in peril – it is also a richly imagined novel about two people struggling to keep their love, and their family, alive in a place of terrible hardship and tumultuous beauty.

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% 252 / 2.8k
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
    7% 209 / 2.8k
  • On Beauty
    3% 101 / 2.8k
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
    20% 575 / 2.8k
  • The Road Home
    2% 61 / 2.8k
  • Home
    2% 74 / 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% 170 / 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).