In this country, prizes are like bumps in the road, sleeping policemen. You can't pretend they are not there, and anyone who says they don't care about them is being disingenuous.Rose Tremain, one of Britain's most critically acclaimed authors has never won the Booker, but has scooped this year's Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (for which she was nominated once before).
The Road Home tells the story of an Eastern European immigrant called Lev, who tries to make his way in Britain, and broadcaster Kirsty Lang, chair of the judges said of it :
We were all very impressed by the novel's main character and the empathy with which she has written him. We liked the cast of characters, and, though it could have been a worthy book, it wasn't.You find out more about the book and Ms. Tremain on the Orange Broadband site and can read an extract here.
The 2008 Orange award for new writers was won by Joanna Kavenna for Inglorious, which Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian describes as
... a tale of a disaffected journalist's descent into nervous breakdownI have to admire this lady's perspicacity and determination - she said she had 13 "unpublishable" novels rejected before this!
Meanwhile of course, the ding-dong about whether it's' fair to have a separate prize for women continues with Tim Lott in The Telegraph pointing out that we don't have literary prizes for other disadvantaged groups like the handicapped and people of colour. (Has he never heard of the Decibel Prize?) It's tiresome to see critics inflating like puffer fish as the very mention of the Orange, though sure, it's hard to justify positive discrimination in a year when women have swept all the major literary prizes in the UK.
I did though like this comment left on Lott's post by someone calling themself Chas Pooter :
Novel writing is the one literary
form in which women have always
excelled, indeed led. The novel as
we know it was invented by Mrs
Behn, and she was buried in
Westminster Abbey (though not, it
is true, for being a pioneer
lady-of-letters). In every generation,
from Austen to the Dribbles,) the
leading novelists have been ladies.
And male novelists, from
Richardson's PAMELA onwards,
have been pre-occupied with the lot
of woman. Perhaps the founders of
the Orange Prize have not read any