AM Homes' novel May We Be Forgiven won the Orange Prize for Women’s Fiction earlier this week, up against an illustrious list of nominees, including Zadie Smith, Kate Atkinson, Barbara Kingsolver and Hilary Mantel, who has won prestigious book awards already for her historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Washinton DC-born Homes, who is in her early fifties, recently told The Guardian that she genuinely never expected to win the Orange. The night before she found herself writing notes for a speech, "in a grudging way, thinking, God, why am I even doing this?" 

Beating Hilary Mantel was the biggest surprise. "To win those three in a row [Booker, Costa, Women's prize] would have been incredible for her," she remarks, revealing that she could listen to Mantel read from her works all night.

Published by HarperCollins, May We Be Forgiven is a darkly-comic novel of twenty-first-century domestic life and the possibility of personal transformation.

Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a terrible temper. When George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives.

A.M. Homes is also the author of the novels The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collection The Safety of Objects. Prior to the win, her fiction had been translated into eight languages - expect that figure to snowball now.