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In a face-off against the likes of Hilary Mantel and Zadie Smith and four other strong nominees for the 2013 Women’s prize for fiction, A.M. Homes won the judges approval for her dark satirical novel May We be Forgiven. Mantel was, not surprisingly, the bookies’ favorite to take the prestigious award home, given that her entry for the award, Bring up the Bodies, had already claimed the 2012 Man Booker Prize.

The panel of judges chaired by actor Miranda Richardson announced the winner at the end of a four hour long meeting where “Everything was very passionately debated because all books were capable of winning”. Homes’ willingness to step into the crazy right in the first few pages, her indulgence in subtle arcane humor and imagination scored big with the judges. According to Richardson, “It was so fresh and so funny – darkly funny – and so unexpectedly moving,” that it secured the award. It is a book which one recommends to friends, they said.

The book was initially meant to be a short story but eventually evolved into its present form after Homes decided to entertain herself and write something she liked. In a particularly different take on contemporary American life and the American dream, she explores the perversion, violence and loopholes using dark humour.

The nominees for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction were:

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

NW by Zadie Smith

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

May We be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple