|The Orange Prize celebrated |
its 15th anniversary last year.
I began by searching for eligible books by authors who had previously been longlisted, shortlisted or won the Orange Prize. Because I don't follow British publishing as closely as I follow publishing in the U.S., I took deliberate measures to make sure I knew what those previously honored were up to. I looked at my favorite reads to see what was eligible. Finally, I looked into books I've been meaning to read but haven't yet to see which ones were eligible.
The Orange Prize is given to a novel written by a woman, originally in English, and published in the UK between April 1 of the last year and March 31 of the year the prize is awarded. Only the UK publishing date matters. This year, books had to be published between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.
Faced with nearly twice as many likely contenders as there were spots, I decided to keep it somewhat equal and select eleven from my list of previously nominated authors and nine authors who would be new to the Orange Prize. Five are debut novelists (last year's longlist had seven debuts.) Links are to my reviews (if applicable).
- Room by Emma Donghue (my favorite read of 2010)
- Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel (my second favorite read of 2010)
- Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (one of my favorite reads of 2011 thus far)
- The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein (my favorite read of 2011 thus far)
- The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell (on so many Best of 2010 lists)
- The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (I credit Jackie's review for bringing my attention to this one)
- Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (I credit Swapna's review for this one)
- Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (won Best Book-Africa in this year's Commonwealth Writer's Prize)
- The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht (the most anticipated spring release by a debut author)
- We Had It So Good by Linda Grant (previous Orange Prize winner)
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (previously shortlisted & fresh off a National Book Critics Circle win; also one of my top 5 reads of 2010)
by Rose Tremain (longlisted for the Booker last year, a previous winner, and one of my top 10 reads of 2010)Jackie pointed out Trespass was eligible last year. Oops!
- The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman (previously longlisted author)
- American Music by Jane Medelsohn (previously shortlisted author)
- The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore (previous winner, Booker longlisted last year)
- Izzy's War by Isla Dewar (previously longlisted author; about a group of women pilots in WWII)
- Pearl by Deirdre Purcell (previously shortlisted author)
- The Dark Tower by Christina Koning (previously longlisted author)
- Untold Story by Monica Ali (previously shortlisted author; imagines life if Princess Diana had lived)
- London Train by Tessa Hadley (previously longlisted author)
(Because I would hate to kick myself for eliminating the wrong one, here are the other fourteen novels that made my first cut of the longlist:
- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin
- Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy
- Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai
- The Lessons by Naomi Alderman
- Great House by Nicole Krauss
- The News Where You Are by Catherine O'Flynn
- Private Life by Jane Smiley
- Chosen by Lesley Glaister
- Song House by Trezza Azzopardi
- Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela
- Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
- Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay
- Five Bells by Gail Jones
- Do No Harm by Carol Topolski
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