LONDON (AFP) – Fatima Bhutto, the niece of assassinated Pakistani former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has been nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the judges announced Friday.
Bhutto is among 20 women on the long list for the award, which was formerly known as the Orange prize and is open to English-language novels from anywhere in the world.
She is nominated for “The Shadow of the Crescent Moon”, her first attempt at fiction following several fact-based books, including a memoir of her family’s blood-soaked history.
Bhutto is a fierce critic of her charismatic aunt, who twice served as prime minister, claiming she was power hungry and “morally responsible” for the murder of her brother, Fatima’s father Murtaza Bhutto, in 1996.
The winner of the prize, which will be announced at the Royal Festival Hall in central London on June 4, receives 30,000 pounds ($50,000, 36,500 euros) and a bronze known as a “Bessie”.
Other nominees for the 19th annual award include “The Luminaries” by New Zealand author Eleanor Catton, which won the 2013 Booker Prize.
Australia’s Hannah Kent is nominated for “Burial Rites”, while Indian-American Jhumpa Lahiri is long-listed for “The Lowland”.
Penguin Books UK’s managing director Helen Fraser chairs the five-woman judging panel, which will announce the short list on April 7.
“This is a fantastic selection of books of the highest quality — intensely readable, gripping, intelligent and surprising — that you would want to press on your friends,” she said.
Former winners Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007) of Nigeria and Suzanne Berne (1999) of the United States are on the long list, which also contains six debut novels.
The other long-listed authors are from Britain, Canada, Ireland and Pakistan.
US writer A. M. Holmes won last year’s prize with “May We Be Forgiven”.