This year both new and well-established authors are honored. Debut novelist Madeline Miller is shortlisted for The Song of Achilles, a Homeric tale of forbidden love. Alice Oswald describes, “Not least of Miller’s achievements is to reanimate [Homer’s] vision of the divine in prose that is simultaneously modern and true to its source”. Previous Orange Prize winner, Ann Patchett is also shortlisted, this time for State of Wonder. Patchett who Ruth Scurr describes as an “astute and amusing observer”, won the prize in 2002 for her novel Bel Canto. The shortlist also includes Canadian writer Esi Edugyan’s second novel Half Blood Blues, The Forgotten Waltz by Irish writer Anne Enright, Georgina Harding’s Painter of Silence and Cynthia Ozick’s Foreign Bodies.
Stuart Jackson, Communications Director at Orange comments, “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.”
Celebrating excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing throughout the world, the Orange Prize for Fiction is the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by women. The winner will receive a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze statue known as ‘the Bessie’, created by artist Grizel Niven. Previous winners include Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006) and Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011).
Writer, Joanna Trollope, who is this years Chair of judges, comments “This is a shortlist of remarkable quality and variety. 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”.
The Orange Prize for Fiction Awards Ceremony will be held at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre on 30 May.