LIFESTYLE
04/06/2015 09:54 BST | Updated 04/06/2016 10:59 BST

Ali Smith On Winning The Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction 2015: 'It Feels Like An Astonishing Fluke'

Good things come to those who wait. And there is no one more deserving than Ali Smith, who scooped the £30,000 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction on 3 June.

This comes after the author missed out on a string of high-profile literary awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Folio Prize in the last 12 months.

The writer, who picked up the award at an event in the Royal Festival Hall on London's Southbank, has been acclaimed by the critics for her novel 'How To Be Both', which examines the lives of a Italian renaissance painter and a modern-day teenager mourning their mother.

ali smith

When asked how it felt to receive the award, Smith told BBC News: "It's unbelievable, it's glorious and it feels like an astonishing fluke. It was such a strong, versatile shortlist, and I can't believe this has happened."

Speaking about Smith's novel, Shami Chakrabarti, who chaired the judging panel, said: "Ancient and modern meet and speak to each other in this tender, brilliant and witty novel of grief, love, sexuality and shape-shifting identity."

Smith, who was made a CBE in the New Year Honours List, was born in Inverness but now lives in Cambridge.

Her story pipped novels by writers including Sarah Waters and Anne Tyler to the post.

baileys prize

The award, previously known as the Orange prize, is open to all women writing in English.

Previous winners include Zadie Smith for On Beauty, Lionel Shriver for We Need To Talk About Kevin and last year's recipient Eimear McBride for A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing.

Its co-founder, novelist Kate Mosse, said: "In this, our 20th year, it is wonderful to see our partnership with Baileys going from strength to strength.

"Our retail and media partnerships in 2015 have been hugely successful in promoting outstanding fiction by women to an even wider range of readers, both in the UK and throughout the world."