Sunday, March 4, 2012

2012 Orange Prize Longlist Predictions

It's that magical time of year: the announcement of the twenty titles selected for the 2012 Orange Prize longlist will come Thursday. Last year I correctly predicted seven of the twenty titles. As I have no idea which publishers actually submit which titles, I'm pleased with that success rate. How will I fare this year?

The method
This year I kept a running Google document tallying possible contenders. I also went through the list of all previously longlisted books to search for new titles by those authors. When I pulled it out to whittle my list down to twenty, I was shocked to see I'd amassed fifty-nine titles. Narrowing the list was difficult, and I confess I've made a highly emotional predictions list. Faced with nearly three times as many likely contenders as there were spots, I decided to choose books I'd read and enjoyed and titles I'm already eager to read. Perhaps this year's list is more of a wishlist than a prediction!. Only two are debut novels (last year's longlist had nine debuts.) Links are to my reviews (if applicable.)

Eligibility
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, 2011 and March 31, 2012.

My selections:

  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
  • Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  • The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
  • Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
  • Doc by Mary Doria Russell
  • When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
  • Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber
  • Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
  • How It All Began by Penelope Lively
  • Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
  • There but for The by Ali Smith
  • A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards
  • Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt

Now tell me: what title are you hoping to see make the longlist Thursday?

P.S. Want to see the other titles that didn't quite make my list? The list is here.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

38 comments:

  1. I think you have some real contenders in this list, especially Ann Patchett, Ali Smith and Julie Osaka. I am so excited for this year's announcement! =)

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    1. My fingers are crossed for Patchett! I cannot wait for Thursday:-)

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  2. Thanks for this list! I'll look forward to seeing who makes it; I just read the Ali Smith a few days ago.

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    1. The Ali Smith is one I hope to read soon, so if I can have an Orange excuse...

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  3. I posted my speculations today also! We have a few similar titles, but not many. I added and deleted "The Dovekeepers" from my list many times. It's getting great reader reviews but even though the author has written many many books she's never been chosen before. I had to wonder if there wasn't a reason for that so I didn't include it. I've got high hopes for "A Cupboard Full of Coats"...so good and so Orangey. And I've definitely got my fingers crossed for "Half Blood Blues" which I loved with huge love!

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    1. Ooh, I'm off to check out your list! I think there's something about The Dovekeepers that sets it apart from Hoffman's other work. I hope there's a spot for it, as she deserves to be longlisted for something! I'd be surprised if A Cupboard Full of Coats didn't make it, but I've been wrong before!

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  4. I love this list. I agree with you on some of these picks like The Dovekeepers, Half-Blood Blues, and The Forgotten Waltz. I'm going to check out your list of books that didn't make the cut.

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    1. I hope the judges agree with us too!

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  5. This is a great list, Carrie - many of these I have yet to read, but given the blog buzz on them, I think they are contenders. My personal favorite from your list (and the one I think most likely to be nominated) is Benaron's novel Running the Rift (amazing book). I just finished Half-Blood Blues and didn't love it - but I don think it will be nominated simply because of the way it was written and the subject matter. I also looked at the books which didn't make your cut...and would add these: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. But we'll see! Can't wait to see what the judges pick!!

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    1. Um, that should have read DO think for Half-Blood Blues!

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    2. It was hard not to include The Taste of Salt--that was one of the last I excluded. I thought it was wonderful. I wouldn't be surprised if Salvage the Bones or The Night Circus make it either. I opted against predicting The Night Circus because I didn't like it and it's received so much buzz.

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    3. I liked Night Circus (wasn't completely blown away though), but I included it above because I do think it will get a nod from the judges because of its language and originality. We'll see!

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  6. Gillespie & I and Next To Love! YES! I love your list -- can't wait to see what ends up appearing!

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    1. I'd be surprised if Gillespie didn't make the list, but I'm really hoping for Next to Love too!

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  7. There is some on this list I've read and many more I want to read. Looking forward to seeing how your predictions match up!

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    1. Me too! It's fun to dream, but I always like to find those new-to-me unexpected novels too!

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  8. I'm cheering for When She Woke and Birds of Paradise...I'd love to see Jordan and Abu-Jaber make the list!

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    1. Both have been on my TBR for far too long--I would love the 'excuse' to read them right away!

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  9. I've just posted my prediction so it is really interesting to compare notes! I had real trouble narrowing it down too. You've included a lot of books that I decided not to include and in the end we only share 7 titles. You might well be right about Silver Sparrow and When She Woke and I can't believe I forgot about Night Circus (just seen Wendy's comment!) I bet that is included. I look forward to seeing what the judges pick.

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    1. Jackie--I felt the same way about your list; you included many I decided against ultimately. I opted against Night Circus because I didn't like it, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it there.

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  10. I'll cheer any list that includes Ann Patchett. State of Wonder is an amazing read.

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    1. Amen! State of Wonder was my favorite read last year. I'm pulling for Patchett to be the first author to win the Orange twice.

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  11. I'm cheering for Next to Love and for The Buddha in the Attic. I'll also toss in Francesca Kay's The Translation of the Bones. Kay won the Orange Award for New Writers (my book lost to hers!) several years ago, and I can imagine that the judges are anxious to see her next book. Also, there will probably be novels on the list that are new to many American readers since they've not been published in the States.

    It's very exciting. Let's hear it for women writers!

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    1. The Translation of the Bones was one of the last I decided to omit. I've heard wonderful things about it! I always enjoy discovering new novels and authors, but as someone who reads more British book blogs than American ones, there are fewer surprises than there used to be!

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  12. I don't know how your list will stack up against the actual long list, but it's a great list of books I need to read! I bought a copy of How It All Began, but haven't read it, or any of the others on your list yet!

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    1. Laurie--many I'm hoping to have a new sense of urgency to read too! I've got a copy of How It All Began as well and am eager to dive in!

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  13. Quite a few books that I haven't seen before - which is good - and of those I know I'd only argue against one - I think Afterwards isn't quite literary enough and doesnlt seem to have been as well received as the book that came before.

    I hope tou're right about The Dovekeepers, and I'd like to see The Translation of the Bones, The Coward's Tale and Blow on a Dead Man's Embers on the longlist too

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    1. Fleur--I wondered about Afterwards. The reviews I've read stateside (it's not out until April here) indicate it's better than Sister, which I quite enjoyed. I like to throw in one mystery or thriller (Black Water Rising was one of my favorites two years ago!), so it got my pick, but I don't necessarily expect it to make the cut. The most common response seems to be about Translation of Bones, so I'll have to track down a copy of that one regardless!

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  14. I have my fingers crossed for A Cupboard of Coats which I read last year as part of the Booker Prize list. I wrote a review on on LT. It's really excellent! I can't wait until the announcement!

    vancouverdeb on LT

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    1. I'm pulling for it too, as my still unread copy I bought last summer is calling to me from my shelf!

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  15. As we wait for the longlist, I took a good look at the cover art for your contenders. I must have a thing for chairs because I really like the covers for Doc and for The Forgotten Waltz. The art alone makes me curious about the stories.

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    1. Ann--that's an interesting thought. I find both covers compelling. There's something inviting about the chairs, as though the characters are inviting the reader into their stories. As both novels are character-driven, I find the cover choices particularly intriguing!

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  16. I've got a feeling The Snow Child is going to make the longlist. Also Salvage the Bones.

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    1. Brenna--I wouldn't be surprised to see both of those on there either. It was so difficult to narrow this year!

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  17. I can't wait for Thursday either. From your list, I'm looking in the direction of Esi Edugyan, Tayari Jones, Hilary Jordan, Alice Hoffman, and Helen DeWitt. I haven't quite finished The Snow Child, but I think it stands a good chance as well. Like you, I find it hard not to just hope for the books that I most want to read, so that I can nudge them up the stack with the longlist reading as such a terrific excuse! *crosses fingers*

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    1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one hoping for books I already want to read! I do hope Tayari Jones makes it--I adored Silver Sparrow and hope it finds a wider audience.

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  18. Carrie,
    I love that you have your alarm set for the announcement.. that's dedication! I'm really looking forward to picking up some of these because I was largely unaware of many until you posted the list. I attempted Once Upon a River but just couldn't finish. I could see it making the list though. I can't wait to see how they compare!

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  19. Very impressive to have predicted correctly 6 titles which are longlisted. I'm reading into 50 pages of Night Circus now and I must say I am not impressed yet.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!