Kamila Shamsie Wins London Hellenic Prize for Book Inspired by Antigone

Wikimedia Commons, Attribution: SLOWKING

Author Kamila Shamsie’s seventh novel, Home Fire, tells the contemporary story of a British-Muslim family’s connections to the Islamic State (ISIS). However, the Pakistani-British writer’s work was adapted from Sophocles’ play Antigone, which he wrote around the year 441 BC.

The Sophocles play portrays a tragedy involving two brothers killing each other in a civil war, and how their sister suffers for their actions. Earlier this year Shamsie’s book was hailed as “the story of our times” by the judges who awarded her the Women’s Prize for Fiction in June of 2018.

The work has now landed her a new honor, winning 2017’s “London Hellenic Prize”, with a monetary value of £10,000 ($13,000). She received the award in a ceremony on November 26, 2018 held in the Great Hall of Kings College London. Shamsie won this year’s competition out of a field of 102 authors.

The mission of the The London Hellenic Prize is to celebrate the “cultural cross-fertilization of the Greek and English-speaking worlds.” This years panel was made up of six judges and was chaired by Dr. Jennifer Wallace.

The prize was first established in 1996 and awards authors who present original works which are related to or inspired by Greece and Hellenic culture. The annual award is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the literary world.

Each year the prize’s Adjudicating Committee receives hundreds of submissions ranging in subject matter from archaeology, architecture, art, classics, history, literary criticism, religion, social studies, and fiction.

Home Fire is also currently nominated for the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.