The Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist has this morning been announced. The competition is now in its 17th year and remains the only major annual literature prize for women. The awards ceremony will be held on 30 May in London, and the shortlist features both new and well-established authors, including a debut novelist and a previous Orange Prize winner; Ann Patchett, who won the Orange Prize for Fiction ten years ago for Bel Canto (2002).
The Prize was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible and is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman.
The winner will be presented with a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze statue known as ‘the Bessie’, created by artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.
She went on to say, “My only regret is that the rules of the prize don’t permit a longer shortlist. However, I am confident that the fourteen novels we had to leave out will make their own well-deserved way”.
“The Orange Prize has gone from strength to strength over the years and has established itself as a major international prize,” commented Stuart Jackson, Communications Director at Orange. “This is an exceptional shortlist reflecting the diversity and incredible range of female fiction that is available to readers today. Our judges have done a terrific job and will have a tough time choosing just one winner next month from this stellar shortlist of six.”
The full shortlisted is made up of Esi Edugyan for her novel Half Blood Blues a novel set in the aftermath of the fall of Paris in 1940, Anne Enright for The Forgotten Waltz described by the judges as“a compelling, believable, lyrical read”, Georgina Harding for the beautifully written Painter of Silence, Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles, a wonderful tale set in the time of the Greeks and the Trojan wars, Cynthia Ozick for Foreign Bodies described by the judges as “so fresh, and so sophisticated, in its clear eyed look at family dynamics, and so exquisitely written — we were charmed by it”, and Ann Patchett for State of Wonder, the new novel from the former Orange Prize winner.
The award ceremony will take place in The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, on 30 May 2012. Previous winners have included Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), and Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997).