Orange shortlist favours debut novelists

The Orange Prize for Fiction today announces the 2011 shortlist and perhaps surprisingly, it’s the debut novelists who are stealing the limelight

The Orange Prize for Fiction has announced its 2011 shortlist, and perhaps surprisingly, it’s the debut novelists who are stealing the limelight.

Celebrating its sixteenth anniversary this year, the Orange Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing throughout the world. With a cheque for £30,000 up for grabs, it’s a sought-after award for any author, but this year’s list sends mid-career authors into eclipse as an array of new talents dominate the short-list.

But among the new, the most high profile of the six short-listed books is Emma Donoghue’s Room, which was the popular favourite on last year’s Booker prize shortlist, but has split critical opinion with its account of a mother and child incarcerated in a room by an abusive man, with more than a passing resemblance to Josef Fritzl.

‘It’s a very interesting line-up and it’s still important to be up for awards like this,’ says Emma. I’ve bought several books because of their strong association with it. The list of previous winners is very strong; that’s what gives it the glamour.’

Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, Emma Henderson’s Grace Williams Says It Loud and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel join Emma Donoghue on the shortlist announced yesterday.

Great House by Nicole Krauss and The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna have also been nominated for the prize, which will be announced with a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on 8 June 2011.

‘We are proud and pleased to announce our shortlist for the Orange Prize 2011,’ commented Bettany Hughes, Chair of judges. ‘Our judging meeting fizzed for many hours with conversations about the originality, excellence and readability of the books in front of us – credit to the calibre of submissions this year.’

Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Share your recommendations and let us know your opinions on the line-up in comments box below.

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