Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Orange Prize for Fiction - beat the judges

The Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction longlist was announced last week http://www.orangeprize.co.uk/. No surprises that Booker winner Anne Enright is on there with her book "The Gathering". I guess this means I really must get my finger out and read it.

Of all the book prizes it's my opinion the Orange Prize is the one to watch as it invariably results in a winning novel that you will a) actually read and b) enjoy reading. And it makes me feel slightly more high brow than Richard and Judy's book club. Last years' winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie "Half of a Yellow Sun", although disturbing was without doubt one of my highlights of 2007.

Of course, it's not always the case that the best book wins, Nicole Krauss "The History of Love" being a case in point, but at least the shortlist isn't typically made up of airy fairy poncey prose...

I attempt to read the longlist every year before the winner is announced which this year will be 4th June. My main motivation being that it's nice to be able to have an opinion about something that is apparently cultural and intellectual. So when am I going to start reading?

In between Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury's book "Gardens in Time and Space" and Beth Chatto's "Dry Garden" I've been dipping in and out of Charlotte Mosleys book, "Letters Between Six Sisters", which records the private correspondence between the Mitford sisters. Unity has just croaked it and the dynamics in the family have shifted, so it would feel wrong to put it aside just now.

Perhaps an Orange start to the weekend?

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