On the evening of 9 June 2010, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Orange Award for New Writers were presented at a ceremony which took place at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London. The Prize for Fiction was presented by Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall. Add to this the celebration of the 15th annual Orange Prize and it makes for a big party!
The winner of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction:
Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna
Synopsis: Born in the US and reared in a series of provincial households in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is mostly a liability to his social-climbing mother, Salomé; his fortunes remaining insecure as Salomé finds her rich men-friends always on the losing side of the Mexican Revolution.
Harrison aims for invisibility, observing his world and recording everything in his notebooks with a peculiar selfless irony. Life is what he learns from servants putting him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs on the streets. Then, one day, he ends up mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist, Diego Riviera – which leads to a job in Riviera’s house, where Harrison makes himself useful to the muralist, his wife Frida Kahlo and the exiled Bolshevik leader, Lev Trotsky.
A violent upheaval sends him to the US. In Carolina, he remakes himself in America’s hopeful image and finds an extraordinary use for his talents of observation. But political winds continue to volley him between north and south, in a story that turns many times on the unspeakable breach – the lacuna – between truth and public presumption.
The Chair of Judges, Daisy Goodman, said; “We chose The Lacuna because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy.”
The winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers:
Irene Sabatini for The Boy Next Door
This award was launched in 2005 in partnership with Arts Council England. This award translates into 3 years worth of a bursary which is intended “to support the professional development of a writer at a crucial stage in her career”.
Waterstones has provided a synopsis and jacket reviews of Sabatini’s The Boy Next Door:
Synopsis: Two days after I turned fourteen the son of our neighbour set his stepmother alight. Or so Lindiwe Bishop believes, though eighteen months later the charges against Ian McKenzie are dropped and he returns home, full of charm and swagger. Intrigued, Lindiwe strikes up a covert friendship with the mysterious white boy next door. As a bond grows between them, they cannot foreseee how severely it will be tested in the years ahead — by secrets and by a world that wants nothing more than to divide them. Vividly evoking Zimbabwe’s slide from independence into chaos, THE BOY NEXT DOOR tells an engrossing tale about what it means to witness, change, love and remain whole when all around you is falling apart.
‘One of the most engaging novels about inter-racial love to be published this century … entertaining, ambitious and packed with news from elsewhere, leavened by the precious optimism of youth. Don’t miss it.’ — Amanda Craig, Independent
‘A fine and accomplished first novel…full of understanding, insight and powerful beauty’ — Alexander Lucie-Smith, Tablet
‘Irene Sabatini’s captivating first novel, THE BOY NEXT DOOR, offers readers a rare and often painfully honest glimpse into life in post-independent Zimbabwe. And yet there is much light and hope and yes, love — genuine and hard-earned — in this book as well. A true pleasure.’ — Peter Orner, author of The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo
But most important of all is what Di Speirs, Chair of Judges of the award had to say about their choice for winner of the New Writers Award: “Immediately engaging, vivid and buzzing with energy, The Boy Next Door is the work of a true storyteller. At heart a love story, it is also so much more as, through the experiences of its charismatic protagonists, it charts the first two decades of the emerging Zimbabwe with honesty, humour and humanity.” She continues, “Irene Sabatini has written an important book that will enchant readers and which marks the emergence of a serious new talent.”