2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction

The 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction, went to:  May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes

May We Be ForgivenPB

A darkly comic novel of twenty-first-century domestic life and the possibility of personal transformation

Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution.

Harry finds himself suddenly playing parent to his brother’s two adolescent children, tumbling down the rabbit hole of Internet sex, dealing with aging parents who move through time like travelers on a fantastic voyage. As Harry builds a twenty-first-century family created by choice rather than biology, we become all the more aware of the ways in which our history, both personal and political, can become our destiny and either compel us to repeat our errors or be the catalyst for change.

May We Be Forgiven is an unnerving, funny tale of unexpected intimacies and of how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together. (View on Goodreads)





2012 Orange Prize for Fiction Winner

The 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction was announced on 30 May 2012 and the awards took place at The Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, central London.

The 2012 winner is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which is her debut novel about which Joanna Trollope, Chair of Judges, said: “This is a more than worthy winner — original, passionate, inventive and uplifting. Homer would be proud of her.”

The Song of Achilles Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

You can check out past winners and closer looks at the 2010 and 2011 Orange prize winners right here on Lilolia.



2012 Orange Prize for Fiction Shortlist

The Orange Prize for Fiction is the UK’s only book prize celebrating works of fiction written by women.  This year’s shortlist was announced of 17 April 2012 and includes both new and established authors.  The shortlist includes Madeline Miller’s debut novel The Song of Achilles as well as previous Orange prize winner Ann Patchett who won the prize in 2002 for Bel Canto.  You can check out previous prize winners and 2010 & 2011 shortlists right here on Lilolia.  If you are looking for good books to read then I think the shortlists of most book prizes are a good place to start.    Here is what the Orange prize judges had to say about the shortlisted novels:

“This is a shortlist of remarkable quality and variety,” commented Joanna Trollope, Chair of judges. “It includes six distinctive voices and subjects, four nationalities and an age range of close on half a century. It is a privilege to present it.”

She continues, “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”.

Here are the 2012 Orange prize shortlisted novels:

Half Blood BluesHalf Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Canadian 2nd Novel

“The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymus Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a café and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.

Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero’s bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there’s more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surface secrets buried since Hiero’s fate was settled.

Esi Edugyan is a graduate of the University of Victoria and John Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Her debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, written when she was 25, was published internationally. Half Blood Blues was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2011. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.”

The judges said: “We were all struck by the sustained and powerful voice, and sense of place and period, in this wonderful novel of jazz, war-torn Europe, and remorse.”

The Forgotten WaltzThe Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
Irish 5th Novel

“The Forgotten Waltz is a memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing. In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for ‘the love of her life’, Seán Vallely. As the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina walks through the weather to meet a girl she calls his ‘beautiful mistake’: Seán’s fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie.

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published two volumes of stories, collected as Yesterday’s Weather, one book of non-fiction, Making Babies, and four novels, most recently The Gathering, which was the Irish Novel of the Year and won the Irish Fiction Award and the 2007 Man Booker Prize.”

The judges said: “What an achievement, we all thought — a flawed heroine, a modern tale of unromantic adultery and conflicted parental loyalties, and a compelling, believable, lyrical read.”

Painter of SilencePainter of Silence by Georgina Harding
British 3rd Novel

“Iasi, Romania, the early 1950s. A man is found on the steps of hospital, frail as a fallen bird. He carries no identification and utters no words, and it is days before anyone discovers that he is deaf and mute. And then a young nurse called Safta brings paper and pencils with which he can draw. Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page: a hillside, a stable, a car, a country house, dogs and mirrored rooms and samovars in what is now a lost world.

The memories are Safta’s also. For the man is Augustin, son of the cook at the manor at Poiana that was her family home. Born six months apart, they grew up with a connection that bypassed words. But while Augustin’s world remained the same size, Safta’s expanded to embrace languages, society — and love, as Augustin watched one long hot summer, in the form of a fleeting young man in a green Lagonda.

Safta left before the war, Augustin stayed. But even in the wide hills and valleys around Poiana he did not escape its horrors. He watched uncomprehending as armies passed through the place. Then the Communists came, and he found himself their unlikely victim. There are many things that he must tell Safta that may be more than simple drawings can convey.

Georgina Harding is the author of two novels: The Solitude of Thomas Cave and The Spy Game, a BBC Book at Bedtime and shortlisted for the Encore Award. Her first book was a work of non-fiction, In Another Europe, recording a journey she made across Romania by motorbike in 1988 during the worst times of the Ceausescu regime. It was followed by Tranquebar: A Season in South India, which documented the lives of the people in a small fishing village on the Coromandel coast. Georgina Harding lives in London and on a farm in the Stour Valley, Essex.”

The judges said: “We were impressed by this deceptively quiet book, which grows in effect and strength as it goes on, portraying a deep understanding of unconventional ways of self-expression, and of relationships. The writing is beautiful.”

The Song of AchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
American 1st Novel

“Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper — despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Madeline Miller was born in Boston, MA, and grew up in both New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a BA and MA in Classics. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. Since graduation she has taught Latin, Greek and Shakespeare, both at her high school, The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA, and elsewhere. Madeline began writing fiction when she was in high school, and has been working on The Song of Achilles, her first novel, for the last ten years. She currently lives in New England, where she teaches Latin and writes.”

The judges said: “Terrific. The Trojan Wars and the legendary love story of Patroclus and Achilles told with all the intensity and accuracy that this world of violence and superstition and romance deserves.”

Foreign BodiesForeign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
American 7th Novel

“The collapse of her brief marriage has stalled Bea Nightingale’s life, leaving her middle-aged and alone, teaching in an impoverished borough of 1950s New York. A plea from her estranged brother gives Bea the excuse to escape lassitude by leaving for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows; but the siren call of Europe threatens to deafen Bea to the dangers of entangling herself in the lives of her brother’s family.

Travelling from America to France, Bea leaves the stigma of divorce on the far side of the Atlantic; newly liberated, she chooses to defend her nephew and his girlfriend Lili by waging a war of letters on the brother she has promised to help. But Bea’s generosity is a mixed blessing: those she tries to help seem to be harmed, and as Bea’s family unravels around her, she finds herself once again drawn to the husband she thought she had left in the past.

Cynthia Ozick’s novels, essays, and short stories have won numerous prizes and awards, among them the Presidential Medal for the Humanities and the PEN-Nabokov Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man-Booker International Prize, and her fiction has garnered four O. Henry First Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the PEN-Malamud Award for the Short Story, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for the Essay. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband.”

The judges said: “This novel is so fresh, and so sophisticated, in its clear eyed look at family dynamics, and so exquisitely written — we were charmed by it.”

State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett
American 6th Novel

“Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women forever. Dr Annick Swenson’s work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investor’s, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns.

Now Marina Singh, Anders’s colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by pleas of Anders’s wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend’s steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest.

What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.

Ann Patchett is the author of five previous novels, including Bel Canto, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of two works of nonfiction; What Now? and the bestselling Truth & Beauty. She writes for the New York Times Magazine, Elle, GQ, Financial Times, Paris Review and Vogue. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she has her own independent bookshop. In April 2012, Ann Patchett was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.”

The judges said: “An extraordinary novel of science and adventure handled with equally extraordinary grace and lightness and wit.”

More Information:



2011 Orange Prize for Fiction Winner

The 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction was awarded on 8 June in London to American/Serbian author Téa Obreht for her debut novel The Tiger’s Wife.  At age 25, Téa Obreht is the youngest author to take the prize.

Bettany Hughes, Chair of Judges, had this to say about the winning novel:thetigerswife.jpg

“The Tiger’s Wife is an exceptional book and Téa Obreht is a truly exciting new talent. Obreht’s powers of observation and her understanding of the world are remarkable. By skilfully spinning a series of magical tales she has managed to bring the tragedy of chronic Balkan conflict thumping into our front rooms with a bittersweet vivacity.”

She continues, “The book reminds us how easily we can slip into barbarity, but also of the breadth and depth of human love. Obreht celebrates storytelling and she helps us to remember that it is the stories that we tell about ourselves, and about others, that can make us who we are and the world what it is.”

Some extra information about Téa Obreht and her debut novel The Tiger’s Wife

Téa Obreht

Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Belgrade. In 1992 her family moved to Cyprus and then to Egypt, where she learned to speak and read English, eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Téa received her MFA in Fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University in 2009. Téa was featured in The New Yorker’s Top 20 Writers under 40 Fiction Issue (June 2010) and at 24, was the youngest on the list. Her short story, The Laugh, debuted in The Atlantic fiction issue and was then chosen for The Best American Short Stories 2010, a further short story, The Sentry, featured in the Guardian Summer Fiction Issue. Her journalism has appeared in Harper’s magazine and she lives in Ithaca, New York.

The Tiger’s Wife

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic – Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book.

Years later, in a Balkan country ravaged by conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, is visiting an orphanage when she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death far from their home in mysterious circumstances. Remembering fragments of the stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for ‘the deathless man’ a vagabond who was said to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man, would go on such a far-fetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.



2011 Orange Prize Shortlist

The 2011 shortlist for the 16th annual Orange prize has been announced.  The awards ceremony will be held at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on the 8 June 2011.

The judges said:

“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.”

She continues, “The clarity and human-understanding on the page is simply breathtaking. The number of first-time novelists is an indicator of the rude health of women’s writing. The verve and scope of storylines pays compliment to the female imagination. There are no subjects these authors don’t dare to tackle. Even though the stories in our final choices range from kidnapping to colonialism, from the persistence of love to Balkan folk-memory, from hermaphroditism to abuse in care, the books are written with such a skilful lightness of touch, humour, sympathy and passion, they all make for an exhilarating and uplifting read. This shortlist should give hours of reading pleasure to the wider world.”

The shortlist:

  • Room by Emma Donoghue (Irish) – Picador; 7th Novel
  • The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (British/Sierra Leonean) – Bloomsbury; 2nd Novel
  • Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson (British) – Sceptre; 1st Novel
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss (American) – Viking; 3rd Novel
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (Serbian/American) – Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 1st Novel
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter (Canadian) – Jonathan Cape; 1st Novel




2011 Orange Prize for Fiction Longlist

The much anticipated Orange Prize for Fiction has begun its 2011 selection with the release of the longlist.  You can expect the shortlist to be released on the 12th of April followed by the award ceremony on the 8th of June.  Here is a breakdown of this year’s award and selections from the official website:

This year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers and features nine first novels. Three authors appearing on this year’s list have previously been longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and a further two authors have been previously shortlisted. The list also includes a former winner of the Orange Award for New Writers and features seven different publishing imprints.

Any woman writing in English, whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter, is eligible. The winner will receive a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. Both are anonymously endowed.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in The Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall on 8 June 2011.

The 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction Longlist includes:

  • Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) – Sudanese; 3rd Novel
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch (Canongate) – British; 10th Novel
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador) – Irish; 7th Novel
  • The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi (Bloomsbury) – Indian; 1st Novel
  • Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber) – British; 6th Novel
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Corsair) – American; 4th Novel
  • The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury) – British/Sierra Leonean; 3rd Novel
  • The London Train by Tessa Hadley (Jonathan Cape) – British; 4th Novel
  • Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson (Sceptre) – British; 1st Novel
  • The Seas by Samantha Hunt (Corsair) – American; 1st Novel
  • The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Faber and Faber) – British; 2nd Novel
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss (Viking) – American; 3rd Novel
  • The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone (Chatto & Windus) – American; 3rd Novel
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) – Serbian/American; 1st Novel
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Viking) – American; 1st Novel
  • Repeat it Today with Tears by Anne Peile (Serpent’s Tail) – British; 1st Novel
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Chatto & Windus) – American; 1st Novel
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin (Serpent’s Tail) – British/Nigerian; 1st Novel
  • The Swimmer by Roma Tearne (Harper Press) – British; 4th Novel
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter (Jonathan Cape) – Canadian; 1st Novel


2010 Orange Prize for Fiction

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.

Jacket review: 

‘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.”



2010 Orange Prize Shortlist

The 2010 Orange Prize Shortlist has been announced.  One of the shortlisted books will be very familiar to you as it has won loads of other awards – let’s see if it wins the Orange Prize too…

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey