Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
‘There is no best novel. There is only a best novel for each one of us. Literature is what makes our hearts grow bigger and that’s how we change the world. I guess lightening does strike twice” – acceptance speech of our 2023 winning author.
As much as anyone would agree with the inherently subjective nature of literary taste, there is no-one that can deny that this year’s @womensprize winner was a feat of ingenuity & imagination, universally lauded as a masterpiece. How is Kingsolver not also a teenage boy?
One of her brilliant @faberbooks team told us that the main character, Demon, lives in Kingsolver’s mind perpetually. She is constantly thinking what his reaction would be to his story, or the happenings of the day. Reminiscent of the Tudor ghosts that lived with Mantel, Kingsolver has created a tapestry of people that are viscerally real, their challenges, hopes & dreams ours.
Books can change you. Demon Copperhead, a retelling of David Copperfield, is a hard read, transporting the reader to a small Appalachian town where OxyContin is on the precipice of total destruction. I told Kingsolver that the scene in which Demon questions how people can cut the crusts of bread, wasting perfectly good food when he is starving, has affected me every single day preparing meals for my kids.
Sophie called this as the winner the minute she read it & we all know how discerning a critic she can be haha (read tough ex-editorial).
As ever, the best sign of a good night is a smattering of pictures at this magnificent soirée – huge congratulations to @katemossewriter@clairemshanahan & all the WP team on changing the face of Womens literature, & for throwing the best parties, thank you for having us. We can’t wait for the exciting things you have in store. Well done @barbara.kingsolver@thebrixtonbookworm et Faber all, hope you got some sleep.