Naomi Alderman has become the first woman to win the prestigious Bailey’s Prize with a science fiction novel.

Her book ‘The Power’ scooped the women’s literature accolade and £30,000 prize money, with judges hailing it as a “classic of the future”.

Chair of judges Tessa Ross said: “This prize celebrates great writing and great ideas and The Power had that, but it also had urgency and resonance.”

Alderman, 42, from north London, sets her novel in an imagined future, in which girls and women can kill men with a single touch, by sending electrical bolts through their fingers. News soon spreads, with footage of electrocutions uploaded to YouTube.

Once women become the dominant gender, the book explores their use of power, and the effect it has on them. It is written as a historical novel from thousands of years in the future.

The prize is the latest honour for Alderman, whose academic father, Professor Geoffrey Alderman, is an expert on Anglo-Jewry and lectures at the University of Buckingham. He was the lone Zionist academic to attend an anti-Israel conference in Cork earlier this year.