Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The 2011 Orange Prize Longlist: A U.S. Reader's Guide

The wait is over, friends, and the Orange Prize longlist is here! How well did my predictions hold up? I correctly guessed seven of the twenty novels and had another three on my longer list of 34 novels. Many of the ones I wasn't familiar sound absolutely fabulous. This list spans the globe, and I'm looking forward to diving into my longlist reading!

The ones I've already read:
Room: A NovelA Visit from the Goon SquadGreat House: A NovelThe Invisible Bridge (Vintage Contemporaries)Swamplandia!
The ones available in the U.S. now:
Lyrics Alley: A NovelThe Pleasure Seekers: A NovelThe Memory of LoveThe Seas: A Novel
The Birth of Love: A NovelThe Tiger's Wife: A NovelThe Secret Lives of Baba Segi's WivesAnnabel: A Novel
The ones coming soon to the U.S.:
Jamrach's Menagerie. Carol BirchThe Road to Wanting. Wendy Law-YoneRepeat It Today With TearsWhatever You Love. Louise Doughty

  • Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (also available on the Kindle) -- coming June 14, 2011
  • Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty -- coming in April 2011
  • London Train by Tessa Hadley (also available on the Kindle) -- coming May 24, 2011
  • The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone -- coming in April 2011
  • Repeat It Today With Tears by Anne Peile -- coming August 1, 2011
The ones we hope will find their way to the U.S.:
Grace Williams Says It Loud. Emma HendersonThe Swimmer
  • Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson
  • The Swimmer by Roma Tearne
Biggest Surprise: The omission of Linda Grant's new  novel We Had It So Good. I'm still eagerly awaiting its US release next month.

The 20 Under 40 ladies are well represented! Nicole Krauss, Tea Obreht and Karen Russell all made the list. I'm planning to re-read Great House for the longlist.

Debut novels galore: Nine of the twenty novels are debuts, which is wonderful. I'm looking forward to discovering so many new authors.

Want to know more? The Guardian has a wonderful gallery with summaries and reviews.The official Orange Prize announcement is here.

Now tell me: which book should I read first? Which book are you most excited to see included?

As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you!


  1. Oooh, great post -- just what I didn't know I wanted! ;) I'm woefully underread when it comes to this group but now I've got a spring reading goal!

  2. I loved Room and Great House and The Invisible Bridge is high on my list. What a great selection!

  3. Great post! You can get both The Swimmer and Grace Williams Says it Loud through
    (their prices are good and they have free shipping)

  4. @Nickelini -- sadly, the BD is out of both titles. One I can get through interlibrary loan, and the other I was able to track down a used copy domestically.

  5. I've realized that I haven't read as much new, female literature in quite some time. Room was the only title I've completed on the list. I'm a little disappointed because I haven't found a single title, other than Room and Great House (which I already own), at any of the libraries for my county. I'm going to continue to check. Thanks for the additonal information.

  6. I've only read Room, which I am very happy to see on the list, and Whatever You Love, which I'm more surprised to see, having thought that it started brilliantly but lost direction later. The Pleasure Seekers and The Invisible Bridge I have on order at the library, and a few others that the library doesn't have and I can't afford right now are calling but I'm trying not to think about them. I'll give pretty much anything listed the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time I do accept that some books may be great but not for me.

  7. I have only read one -- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives -- and I loved it.

  8. It is exciting that almost half are debut novels. That is very good news for my reading future.

  9. This was a fab wrap up and I need to read some more of these! I've only read two.

  10. I've only read Room and Tiger's Wife, but both are worthy of the nomination IMO.

  11. It is interesting to see the difference in availability in the US. The Sea is one of the only ones I can't get at my library - I wish I could get it for just $2.99!

    You have made me very excited about The Invisible Bridge. I hope my library gets a copy in soon (it is on order) as I'm really looking forward to reading it. I look forward to comparing notes with you on the rest of the long list.

  12. Overall I've been having better luck finding this year's longlist than I had last year, so I'm hoping to improve on my 16 out of 20 record. Mind you, publishers' availability doesn't add to the number of reading hours in a day!


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