A LITERARY HAT-TRICK FOR ANDREA LEVY
HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS to Andrea Levy on winning the 2004 Whitbread Award for Book of the Year with her fourth novel, Small Island, following on the the heels of her 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction win. The Whitbread Award and the Orange Prize are two of Britain's most prestigious literary awards besides the Booker Prize for Fiction. Levy is also the winner of the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book in the Eurasia region. She has also won the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Overall Best Book.
I believe this is the first time an author has won both the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in the very same year. I also believe this is the first time an author has won the Orange Prize, the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for the same book.
Small Island is the story of a Jamaican immigrant couple struggling to make their way in a hostile postwar London in the 1950s. It is not merely a story about hostility and racism, it is also about people and how history shapes them. John Ezard in The Guardian calls this “a comedy of errors, misunderstandings and prejudice at the onset of West Indian immigration to Britain” on the S.S. Empire Windrush in 1948. With these wins, Small Island is all set to reach a far wider readership.
Small Island is definitely one of my favourite novels of the year.
LEVY Andrea [1956-] Novelist. Born in London, England. Novels Small Island (2004: winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction, the 2004 Whitbread Award for the Novel and the Book of the Year, the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, Eurasia Region, and the overall winner of the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book); Fruit of the Lemon (1999: winner of the 1999 Arts Council Writers Award); Never Far From Nowhere (1996: longlisted for the 1996 Orange Prize for Fiction); Every Light in the House Burnin’ (1994)
Check out Andrea Levy’s Small Island at www.andrealevy.co.uk