Orange Prize for Fiction
Orange Prize for Fiction Awarded for Best full-length novel written in English by a woman of any nationality Presented by Orange Location United Kingdom First awarded 1996 Official website http://www.orangeprize.co.uk/home
The Orange Prize for Fiction (known as the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction from 2007 to 2008) is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, annually awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English, and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year.
The prize was originally due to be launched in 1994 with the support of Mitsubishi but public controversy over the merits of the award caused the sponsorship to be withdrawn. Funding from Orange, a UK mobile network operator and Internet service provider, allowed the prize to be launched in 1996 by a committee of male and female "journalists, reviewers, agents, publishers, librarians, booksellers", including current Honorary Director Kate Mosse.
The prize was established to recognise the contribution of female writers, whom Mosse believed were often overlooked in other major literary awards, and in reaction to the all-male shortlist for the 1991 Man Booker Prize. The winner of the prize receives £30,000, along with a bronze sculpture called the Bessie created by artist Grizel Niven, the sister of actor and writer David Niven. Typically, a longlist of nominees is announced around March each year, followed by a shortlist in June; within days the winner is announced. The winner is selected by a board of "five leading women" each year. In 2005, judges named Andrea Levy's Small Island as the "Orange of Oranges", the best novel of the preceding decade.
The BBC suggests that the Orange Prize forms part of the "trinity" of UK literary prizes, along with the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Awards; the sales of works by the nominees of these awards are significantly boosted. Levy's 2004 winning book sold almost one million copies (in comparison to less than 600,000 for the Man Booker Prize winner of the same year), while sales of Helen Dunmore's A Spell of Winter quadrupled after being awarded the inaugural prize. Valerie Martin's 2003 award saw her novel sales increase tenfold after the award, and British libraries, who often support the prize with various promotions, reported success in introducing people to new authors: "48% said that they had tried new writers as a result of the promotion, and 42% said that they would try other books by the new authors they had read."
However, the fact that the prize singles out female writers is not without controversy. After the prize was founded, Auberon Waugh nicknamed it the "Lemon Prize" while Germaine Greer claimed there would soon be a prize for "writers with red hair". Winner of the 1990 Man Booker Prize A. S. Byatt has called it a "sexist prize", claiming "such a prize was never needed." In 1999, the chairwoman of the judges, Lola Young, claimed that British female literature fell into two categories, either "insular and parochial" or "domestic in a piddling kind of way". Linda Grant suffered accusations of plagiarism following her award in 2000, while the following year, a panel of male critics produced their own shortlist and heavily criticised the genuine shortlist. The 2007 shortlist was decried for being derived from "... a lot of dross ..." by the chair of the judging panel Muriel Gray, while former editor of The Times Simon Jenkins called it "sexist". In 2008, writer Tim Lott called the award "a sexist con-trick" and suggested "the Orange Prize is sexist and discriminatory, and it should be shunned".
No woman has won the award more than once but Margaret Atwood has been nominated three times without a win. Since the inaugural award to Helen Dunmore, British writers have won five times, while North American authors have secured the prize seven times.
Winners and shortlisted writers
Year Winner Work Shortlisted nominees Notes Ref(s) 1996 Helen Dunmore A Spell of Winter Julia Blackburn
Inaugural award  1997 Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces Margaret Atwood, Deirdre Madden
E. Annie Proulx
First non-British winner  1998 Carol Shields Larry's Party Kirsten Bakis
Second Canadian winner  1999 Suzanne Berne A Crime in the Neighborhood Jane Hamilton
Blackburn's second shortlisted nomination  2000 Linda Grant When I Lived in Modern Times Judy Budnitz
Éilis Ni Dhuibhne
Second British winner in five years  2001 Kate Grenville The Idea of Perfection Margaret Atwood
Atwood's second shortlisted nomination  2002 Ann Patchett Bel Canto Anna Burns
Dunmore's first nomination since winning in 1996  2003 Valerie Martin Property Anne Donovan
Shields' first nomination since winning in 1998, Smith's second shortlisted nomination  2004 Andrea Levy Small Island Rose Tremain
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
First British winner since 2000, Atwood's third shortlisted nomination. Small Island was also the Whitbread Book of the Year.  2005 Lionel Shriver We Need to Talk About Kevin Joolz Denby
Shriver revealed that she changed her name from Margaret Ann Shriver because she believed "men had an easier life". In 2005 the "Orange of Oranges" was awarded to Andrea Levy for Small Island.  2006 Zadie Smith On Beauty Nicole Krauss
Zadie Smith's first win after two nominations, Ali Smith and Sarah Waters' second nomination  2007 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun Rachel Cusk
Adichie's first win after being nominated in 2004, Tyler's second shortlisted nomination. Prize renamed "Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction".  2008 Rose Tremain The Road Home Nancy Huston
This was Tremain's 14th novel.  2009 Marilynne Robinson Home Ellen Feldman
Robinson's third novel in 28 years, Madden's second shortlisted nomination. Prize renamed "Orange Prize for Fiction"  2010 Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna Rosie Alison
Sixth novel by Kingsolver.  2011 Téa Obreht The Tiger's Wife Kathleen Winter
Debut novel by Obreht. At age 25 (at the time of the award) she was the youngest author to win to date. 
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- ^ "School murder novel wins Orange Prize". Sydney Morning Herald. 9 June 2005. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Books/School-murder-novel-wins-Orange-Prize/2005/06/08/1118123897572.html. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
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- ^ Mosse, Kate (8 June 2008). "Noises off: This is a celebration – so cut the whining and just read the books". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/noises-off-this-is-a-celebration-ndash-so-cut-the-whining-and-just-read-the-books-842491.html. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
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- ^ "Orange Prize for Fiction 2009 Shortlist". Orange. http://www.orangeprize.co.uk/2009-Prize/shortlist. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- ^ "Barbara Kingsolver wins Orange Prize for Fiction". BBC News. 9 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/arts_and_culture/8730935.stm. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
- ^ Armistead, Claire (12 April 2011). "Orange prize shortlist favours debut novelists". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/apr/12/orange-prize-debut-novelists. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
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