Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Preeta for Orange!

A big cheer for our Preeta once again, because now she's on the longlist of another of the most prestigious international literary awards - the Orange Prize! (I notice this year the word Broadband seems to have been dropped from the name - just as well really.)

Here's the 20 strong list :
  • Debra Adelaide - The Household Guide to Dying
  • Gaynor Arnold - Girl in a Blue Dress
  • Lissa Evans - Their Finest Hour and a Half
  • Bernardine Evaristo - Blonde Roots
  • Ellen Feldman - Scottsboro
  • Laura Fish - Strange Music
  • V.V. Ganeshananthan - Love Marriage
  • Allegra Goodman - Intuition
  • Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness
  • Samantha Hunt - The Invention of Everything Else
  • Michelle de Kretser - The Lost Dog
  • Deirdre Madden - Molly Fox’s Birthday
  • Toni Morrison - A Mercy
  • Gina Ochsner - The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight
  • Marilynne Robinson - Home
  • Preeta Samarasan - Evening is the Whole Day
  • Kamila Shamsie - Burnt Shadows
  • Curtis Sittenfeld - American Wife
  • Miriam Toews - The Flying Troutmans
  • Ann Weisgarber - The Personal History of Rachel DuPree
You can find out more about each of these titles on the Orange Prize website.

Okay, the stats : American authors predominate (9/20) ; 6/20 are first novels (including, of course, Preeta's); four authors have been previously longlisted, and two of those reached the shortlist. Random House has more authors on the list than any other publisher (7/20).

Toni Morrison's is clearly the name spoken in most hushed tones ... but the British press is focusing on perhaps the most unlikely heroine of the list - Birmingham social worker Gail Arnor whose novel - a fictionalised account of the about the aftermath of Dicken's death - proves once again the dynamism of the tiny Tyndall Street Press. Some surprising names not on the list inc Helen Garner and Zoe Heller.

And the most common theme seems to be exile and migration.

Tomorrow, I bet, the bitching will start about how dare there be a woman-only literary prize, as it does every year. No-one has got around to starting up the Banana Bonanza for Blokes yet to shut these people up.

The shortlist will be announced on 21st April and the shortlist for the Orange Award for New Writers on 7th April. The winners of both awards will be announced at a ceremony on the 3rd June.

Fingers crossed for Preeta once again.


Anonymous said...

That's some really good company she has there :) Congrats again!


gnute said...

Congratulations to Preeta!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Preeta!

- Twan Eng

Anonymous said...

Saying a prayer for Preeta.And as Jen says, she's in pretty good company.Congrats.

lil ms d said...

congratulations preeta!

Off topic: sharonnnnnnn beenc alling your house! one and half boxes full of books are ready. may i drop them off at your house today? during lunch? please calll meeeee!

Kamal S said...

I love my fellow Malaysians, but this time, I have to say moseltav to Toni Morrison. A Mercy is one of the best 10 books I've read last year.

Congratulations, Preeta. Now, it's time for me to continue with my short stories collection (hint* hint*)

Chet said...

Yes, I agree Toni Morrison's A Mercy stands a very, very good chance of winning.

I started reading it yesterday evening, and almost didn't want to put it down, but I was getting tired, and felt it would be disrespectful to continue reading while tired.

It's a slim book but packed with well-chosen, well-written words, sentences and paragraphs that combine to tell a powerful story in a very understated way.

I've loved Morrison since reading The Bluest Eye more than 20 years ago, and I take back what I said about her getting more and more difficult to read. She's a magnificent storyteller who is like fine wine - gets better with age!

After A Mercy, I really must return to Beloved, start from page 1 and finish it.

dreamer idiot said...

Standing tall along Toni Morrison and others, congrats to Preeta!

I was about to mention that A Mercy probably would win, but Chet and Kamal S. have said it already. It's a pity that Preeta's novel is published in the year of either strong contenders or literary heavyweights.

Anonymous said...

I came back from Hong Kong to This great news. Congratulations, Preeta!


bibliobibuli said...

but being on the list with such great writers is in itself the great great thing, hey? i'm cheering for all our longlisted, shortlisted, and other wisely recognised writers who put us on the map.

Anonymous said...

In the mean time, some kid on Nescafe Kickstart just won Rm10,000 for an unworkable business plan. Such is life.

"You discover the boredom which is inseparable from poverty; the times when you have nothing to do and, being underfed, can interest yourself in nothing." - Orwell

Yusuf Martin said...

Go Preeta Go girl!! Sorry had an Oprah Winfrey moment there. Good for Preeta, I have my fingers crossed for her, well, obviously not all the time otherwise I couldn't type, but metaphorically and spiritually.

Kak Teh said...

Congratulations Preeta!

BorneoExpatWriter said...

Congrats Preeta! Quite an honor. You make us all proud and you challenge the rest of us to finish, to revise or to rewrite those novels so in the near future our books will be short-listed, long-listed alongside yours and, and what's her name, oh yeah, Toni Morrison.

Anything is possible if you believe and you're willing to do the hard work. This year I'm entering three novels into a contest in the US, where last year one of them was "almost finalist", which is equivilent to a short list. I revised it three more times since then, so I plan to go at least one step better.

This is what we need to do, spur each other on, so we all produce winning results in whatever areas we write. Thanks Sharon

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone!

-- Preeta

Chet said...

I don't understand why Preeta's book isn't nominated for the Orange Award for New Writers instead. It's her first book. Or maybe she is. From the new writers page on the website:

"Although it will be possible for the same writer to win both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Orange Award for New Writers in any given year, the emphasis of the Award is on potential and emerging talent."

bibliobibuli said...

no shortlist announced yet for this, chet

Anonymous said...

I think it is odd to have new writers appearing in both the Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist/longlist and the Orange Award for New Writers.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing all that odd about this, if you think about it. Mine isn't the only debut novel on the regular longlist -- there are 5 others. The New Writers longlist will, of course, include new writers who are not on the regular longlist, but for the 6 debut novelists who were chosen for the regular longlist, it's an extra honour. It makes a very strong statement about the quality of these 6 novels relative to novels by more established writers (both the more established writers who are on the longlist and the more established writers whom we beat out for places on this list). Of course this is all subjective; the selection makes a statement about the relative quality of these debut novels *in the eyes of these judges,* and you may not agree, but that's always how contests work. And I'm not trying to be boastful or to say that the 6 of us are as good as Toni Morrison or Marilynne Robinson, but since 2 people have asked this same question....

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Preeta! That makes sense.