Judge Daisy Goodwin (the wonderful populariser of poetry) talks about what it was like to read 129 entries for The Orange Prize in three months, and says that she was sometimes driven to despair by the bleakness of the submissions. (Philip Henser in The Independent and William Skidelsky in The Observer both nod sagely in agreement, and this point really does beg wider discussion.)
But, says Godwin, she and her fellow judges are very proud of the longlist of 20 titles they have drawn up for the prize. It features an both established authors (some names that spring out are Andrea Levy, Hilary Mantel, Barbara Kingsolver, Sarah Waters, MJ Hyland and Sadie Jones) and seven first time novelists from around the world. (Click table to enlarge.)
The Orange Prize is 15 years old this year, and shows no sign of buckling under the annual exclamations of outrage that it is unfair to continue a prize which sidelines male fiction writers.
Elizabethhc on The Reading Copy blog blames Oprah for the trend of miserable reads.