Monday, March 19, 2007

2007 Orange Prize for Fiction Longlist

THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION was created in 1995 in response to a growing awareness that often the considerable achievements of women novelists were frequently passed over by the major literary prizes. The Orange Prize is judged exclusively by women, who choose the year’s best novel in English written by a woman. The Orange Prize is now known as the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. (What a strange name for a literary prize! Anyway, I am still calling it by its old name.) The following 20 books have been longlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. There is a Booker Prize winner and a Costa Book of the Year winner among them: Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss) and Stef Penney (The Tenderness of Wolves) respectively. (Desai also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.) And there is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has received much praise for her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. Writing a second novel that is better than your first can be a daunting trick to pull off, but she seems to have managed that effortlessly. One of my personal favourites, Jane Harris’s The Observations, is also on the longlist. M.J. Hyland was shortlisted for the 2006 Booker Prize for Fiction for Carry Me Down. Clare Allen’s Poppy Shakespeare, Nell Freudenberger’s The Dissident, Rebecca Gowers’s When to Walk, Jane Harris’s The Observations, Lisa Moore’s Alligator, Catherine O’Flynn’s What Was Lost, Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves, and Deborah Robertson’s Careless are all first novels.

I believe authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Rachel Cusk, Kiran Desai, Jane Harris, Lisa Moore and Anne Tyler stand a very good chance of being on the shortlist.

See if any of your favourites are on the list. Who are on your shortlist?

1. Half of a Yellow Sun / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fourth Estate)
2. Poppy Shakespeare / Clare Allan (Bloomsbury)
3. Arlington Park / Rachel Cusk (Faber & Faber)
4. The Inheritance of Loss / Kiran Desai (Hamish Hamilton)
5. Peripheral Vision / Patricia Ferguson (Solidus)
6. Over / Margaret Forster (Chatto & Windus)
7. The Dissident / Nell Freudenberger (Picador)
8. When to Walk / Rebecca Gowers (Canongate)
9. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers / Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus)
10. The Observations / Jane Harris (Faber & Faber)
11. Carry Me Down / M.J. Hyland (Canongate)
12. The Girls / Lori Lansens (Virago)
13. Alligator / Lisa Moore (Virago)
14. What Was Lost / Catherine O’Flynn (Tindal Street Press)
15. The Tenderness of Wolves / Stef Penney (Quercus)
16. Careless / Deborah Robertson (Sceptre)
17. Afterwards / Rachel Seiffert (Heinemann)
18. Ten Days in the Hills / Jane Smiley (Faber & Faber)
19. Digging to America / Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus)
20. The Housekeeper / Melanie Wallace (Harvill Secker)

A shortlist of six books will be announced on April 17, 2007, while the winner will be announced on June 6, 2007