8th March 2012
The longlist for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, has been announced.
Open to any full-length English language novel by a female author published in the last 12 months, the prize is worth GBP 30,000 to the winner, with 20 women in contention for this year's award.
They include Ann Patchett, who was shortlisted for The Magician's Assistant in 1998 and won the prize in 2002 for Bel Canto. She will become the first author to win the award twice if her latest novel, State of Wonder, is victorious.
Emma Donoghue, who was shortlisted for last year's award for the acclaimed Room but missed out on the grand prize, will be hoping to go one step further in 2012 with The Sealed Letter.
Ali Smith, who was shortlisted in 2001 for Hotel World and in 2006 for the Man Booker Prize-nominated The Accidental, is in contention once again with There But for the, her fifth novel.
Jane Harris is the only other author on the list who has previously been shortlisted for the award, for 2007's The Observations, while Roopa Farooki (The Way Things Look to Me, 2010), Anne Enright (The
Gathering, 2008) and A.L. Kennedy (So I Am Glad, 1996, Everything You Need, 2000) have been named on previous Orange Prize longlists without making the final cut.
Five debut authors will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year's winner Tea Obreht, who scooped the prize for The Tiger's Wife and became the youngest ever recipient of the award at the age of 25.
Amy Waldman's The Submission, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, Stella Tillyard's Tides of War, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg will all be competing against works by established authors.
Other notable contenders include Jaimy Gordon's Lord of Misrule, which triumphed at the 2010 National Book Awards, Esi Edugyan's 2011 Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Half Blood Blues and The Translation of the Bones, by 2009 Orange Award for New Writers recipient Francesca Kay.
This year's judges include novelist Lisa Appignanesi, broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, journalist Natalie Haynes and newscaster Natasha Kaplinsky, with author Joanna Trollope chairing the panel.
According to Trollope, the 2012 longlist is evidence of the 'breadth of subject matter' and 'individuality of voice' in women's writing today.
'We were looking for excellence, accessibility and originality and we found all three, over and over. I congratulate the 20 chosen writers warmly,' she added.
A shortlist of six authors will be unveiled on April 17th, with the winner of the GBP 30,000 prize and the coveted 'Bessie' trophy announced on May 30th.
The full longlist is as follows:
Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg
On the Floor by Aifric Campbell
The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay
The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
There But for the by Ali Smith
The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
The Submission by Amy Waldman