Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Heavy Topics Pack Orange Prize Longlist

The longlist for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction is both topic and debut author heavy: an unexpected outcome that might have UK bookmakers shaking their heads. From the Guardian:
Debut novelists will make up nearly half of the Orange prize for fiction longlist, which this year tackles strikingly difficult subjects: incest, sadistic cruelty, polygamy, child bereavement, hermaphroditism and mental illness. There is, though, also alligator wrestling in the 20-strong list, and Susanna Reid, the BBC Breakfast news presenter and judge for this year's prize, insisted there was much joy to be derived from the books.

"There are difficult subjects tackled with incredible sensitivity," she said, "but there are also unexpected moments of pleasure and joy and humour and intimacy. They're found in the least expected places. Even though some of the subjects are difficult, they are handled in such a way that makes the books extremely readable and unexpectedly pleasurable."

The list includes novels that have fared well in other prizes, including Emma Donoghue's Man Booker-shortlisted Room, which tells the story of a mother and son imprisoned in a room, Josef Fritzl-style; and Louise Doughty's Whatever You Love, which made the Costa novel shortlist.
The £30,000 Orange Prize was created to celebrate “excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing throughout the world,” 16 years ago. The shortlist will be announced April 12th and the winner on June 8th.

Here is the longlist for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction.
  • Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch (Canongate)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador)
  • The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi (Bloomsbury)
  • Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber)
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Corsair)
  • The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury)
  • The London Train by Tessa Hadley (Jonathan Cape)
  • Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson (Sceptre)
  • The Seas by Samantha Hunt (Corsair)
  • The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Faber and Faber)
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss (Viking)
  • The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone (Chatto & Windus)
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Viking)
  • Repeat it Today with Tears by Anne Peile (Serpent's Tail
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Chatto & Windus)
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
  • The Swimmer by Roma Tearne (Harper Press)
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter (Jonathan Cape)



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