Naomi Klein wins inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction as main gong revealed

Naomi Klein wins inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction as main gong revealed

Canadian author Naomi Klein has won the inaugural Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction.

The activist and film-maker, 54, known for her for critics of modern economics, took home the award in its first year at a Thursday ceremony in Bedford Square Gardens, London.

She was named as US author VV Ganeshananthan snapped up the Women’s Prize for Fiction for her second novel Brotherless Night, about a family fractured by the Sri Lankan civil war.

Klein won the prize for Doppelganger: A Trip Into The Mirror World, which explores a woman with different views who is often mistaken for the author and launches her into a world of “conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxers and demagogue hucksters”.

Her and Ganeshananthan both receive a £30,000 prize each.

Klein, who was a guest speaker at a Labour Party conference when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, has also released the books No Logo: Taking Aim At The Brand Bullies and This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate.

Her best-selling 2007 book The Shock Doctrine, which argues global corporations have exploited major disasters to force through social and financial changes to their advantage, was also the winner of the inaugural Warwick Prize for Writing.

VV Ganeshananthan poses with her trophy after being announced as the winner of the 2024 Women's Prize for Fiction
VV Ganeshananthan was announced as the winner of the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction (Matt Crossick Media Assignments/PA)

Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, chairwoman of the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction judges, said: “This brilliant and layered analysis demonstrates humour, insight and expertise.

“Klein’s writing is both deeply personal and impressively expansive.

“Doppelganger is a courageous, humane and optimistic call-to-arms that moves us beyond black and white, beyond right and left, inviting us instead to embrace the spaces in between.”

Klein also receives a limited-edition artwork known as The Charlotte, donated by the Charlotte Aitken Trust, for her win.

Ganeshananthan, from a Sri Lankan family, was previously also longlisted for the Women’s Prize, then called the Orange Prize, for 2008’s Love Marriage, which was focused on the Tamil diaspora.

Also a journalist, and born in 1980, she was a vice president of the South Asian Journalists Association and has taught an MFA programme at the University of Minnesota.

Monica Ali, chairwoman of the judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction said: “Brotherless Night is a brilliant, compelling and deeply moving novel that bears witness to the intimate and epic-scale tragedies of the Sri Lankan civil war.

“In rich, evocative prose, Ganeshananthan creates a vivid sense of time and place and an indelible cast of characters.

“Her commitment to complexity and clear-eyed moral scrutiny combines with spellbinding storytelling to render Brotherless Night a masterpiece of historical fiction.”

Ganeshananthan gets a bronze figurine known as the Bessie, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.