Orange Prize for Fiction 2010

The winner of this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction is Barbara Kingsolver for her novel The Lacuna. Also announced, but largely ignored in the press, was the winner of the Orange Award for New Writers: Irene Sabatini for The Boy Next Door.

Kingsolver won through from an original list of 129 books. A longlist of 20 books was selected in March out of which the following six titles were picked for the shortlist in April:

  • Rosie Alison The Very Thought of You (Alma Books)
  • Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna (Faber and Faber)
  • Attica Locke Black Water Rising (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate)
  • Lorrie Moore A Gate at the Stairs (Faber and Faber)
  • Monique Roffey The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Simon and Schuster)

Both Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (which won the prestigious Man Booker Prize last year) and Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs were close contenders for the prize. Kingsolver is best known for her very popular earlier novel The Poisonwood Bible. This was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 1999 but didn’t win (Suzanne Berne’s A Crime in the Neighbourhood won that year)—although it is thought to be better than her new winning book which gained disappointing reviews. The Lacuna is ‘an epic, ambitious novel that straddles the Mexican revolution and [the earlier phases of] the crazed communist witch-hunts of 1940s-1950s in America’.

The three titles shortlisted for the Orange New Writers’ award (there is no longlist for this) were:

  • Jane Borodale The Book of Fires (Harper Press)
  • Irene Sabatini The Boy Next Door (Sceptre)
  • Evie Wyld After The Fire, A Still Small Voice (Jonathan Cape)

Sabatini’s winning novel is ‘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’. The judges also commended Jacqueline Yallop’s Kissing Alice (Atlantic Books).

We hope to acquire the winning titles and some shortlisted ones for the library. Last year’s winners were Marilynne Robinson’s Home and, for the New Writers’ award, Francesca Kay’s An Equal Stillness. The Orange Prizes are open to fiction books published anywhere in the world written in English by women.

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The Library of Homerton College, University of Cambridge.
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