Scottish writer Ali Smith has won the Baileys Prize for fiction with her double-narrative novel How To Be Both.
Smith took the 30,000 pound ($46,000) prize with a book that interweaves the stories of an Italian Renaissance painter and a modern-day teenager.
Human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti, who chaired the judging panel, called Smith’s book “a tender, brilliant and witty novel of grief, love, sexuality and shape-shifting identity.”
How To Be Both has been an unsuccessful finalist for several major literary awards, including the Booker and Folio prizes. Smith accepted her award Wednesday saying “Are you sure? I can’t believe I’m up here.”
Smith, also the author of Hotel World, There But For The and The Accidental, beat authors including Sarah Waters and Anne Tyler to the prize, which is open to female writers in English from around the world.