Who will be Shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize ?

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I haven’t quite finished my Orange Prize reading, but I have now sampled at least the first few chapters of each book. The majority haven’t been to my taste, but I can see the quality of the text. Four books jump out at me as being head and shoulders above the rest and I think these will breeze onto the shortlist:

The writing in each of these books is outstanding and I will be very surprised if any of them are missing from the shortlist when it is announced on Tuesday 12th April.

Filling the remaining two spaces on the shortlist is far trickier. I was thinking about going against popular opinion by predicting that Room wouldn’t make the cut. It was my favourite, but it is very different from the others on the list and therefore I have a feeling the judges won’t be the biggest fans of it. My problem is that none of the other books on the longlist are jumping out at me and I can’t get Room out of my head. I’m going to add it to my prediction in the hope they pick my favourite book, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was absent.

The final spot is almost impossible for me to fill. I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Birth of Love, Swamplandia! or Annabel on the shortlist, but I’m going to plump for The London Train, soley because none of the other selections are from the UK!

My prediction for the 2011 Orange Prize shortlist:

What do you think of my prediction?

Which books do you think will make the 2011 Orange Prize shortlist?


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30 Comments

  1. I haven’t read any of the books except for A Visit from the Goon Squad, but I did love that book a lot. I hope it makes it!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, The Goon Squad is one of the few I haven’t actually got my hands on yet (no copies available in my library yet) From the small bit I’ve read and everyone elses ravings I am sure it will make the shortlist. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  2. Laura says:

    I always enjoy your predictions, Jackie. I like to “star” the post in my reader, and come back to it after the announcement. I have only read Room but like you, it has stuck with me. I’m looking forward to reading from this year’s shortlist, possibly for Orange July.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, It is nice to know that you enjoy these posts – let’s hope I don’t look too stupid when you return to see how many I got right :-)

  3. stu j allen says:

    Think room ,great house ,visit from and tigers wife should be on it and as for others it seems a toss up be nice see an African novel on list shame not open for translations some much better female written books come out this year in English all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, I have enjoyed some books in translation a lot more than the ones on this list. I’m especially looking forward to reading The Visitation.

  4. FleurFisher says:

    I haven’t read enough books to get a proper handle on this year’s list, but I’ll stick my neck out and predict:

    The Memory of Love
    Great House
    The Birth of Love
    Room
    The Tiger’s Wife
    The Invisible Bridge

    1. Jackie says:

      FleurFisher, I would love you to be right! I can’t imagine my two favourites (Room and Birth of Love) making the shortlist together, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

  5. Jenna says:

    Room definitely had the same effect on me after I finished! I haven’t read many of the other titles on the longlist, but Room definitely stood out among books I’ve read. There’s just something about experiencing such a horrific situation through the eyes of a child. I have a feeling it won’t make it due to it’s relative popularity compared to the other titles. Can’t wait to see what does make the shortlist!

  6. Jenners says:

    I’m reading Goon Squad now and am finding it hard to adjust to it’s rhthyms…or lack thereof. It is different and I’m curious to see where it will go.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, The Goon Squad seems to be winning every single prize it is elibible for and so I’d be really surprised if it didn’t make the shortlist. I hope that you enjoy it in the end.

  7. Sandy says:

    I am a prize idiot…anything I like they hate. I loved Room, but it is has been consistently snubbed. I also loved Goon Squad. I’m sure it will be snubbed too. I must have pedestrian tastes.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Yes – I have a similar effect on books I love. I think the mainstream popularity of Room may well go against it in this prize, but I look forward to finding out if it makes it. Fingers crossed.

  8. I have no idea what will win I really need to pay more attention to this, but Memory Of Love looks fantastic!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sheila, The Memory of Love is beautifully writte. If you don’t mind a book without a plot then I’m sure you will love it.

  9. mee says:

    Well, Tea Obreht was picked as one of the top 20 under 40 writers by the New Yorker and the Tiger’s Wife is her first book. They had done a very bad job if she doesn’t get into the shortlist (which would be interesting if that happens :)

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, Karen Russell was selected for the same list, so in theory that should mean she should make it too. It will be interesting to see if they both make it or not.

  10. Verity says:

    Fascinating to see your predicitions – of course, you’ve picked two of the ones that I wasn’t able to get hold of!! I rather think that the Road to wanting might make it onto the list as I thought that was very accomplished.

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I’ve just started The Road to Wanting and can see that it has a good chance. I just thought that it would be strange to have no UK representation and that the first 4 I picked were so far above the others. It will be interesting to see whether or not we get a British-free shortlist this year.

  11. Alison M says:

    I’m with you on “Great House”. I hated “Room” & I think “Annabel” is beautifully written. My favourite read thus far has been “Jamrach’s Menagerie” but I suspect I’m a lone voice on that one. I’ve kindly been lent “Swamplandia” & “Memory of Love”but haven’t read them yet.

    1. Jackie says:

      Alison, I think the fact you didn’t like Room, but love those others shows why the judges might be against it. The more I think about it, the less I think it will make it – I can’t wait to see if it will or not.

      I think you are alone in having Jamrach’s Menagerie as a favourite, but perhaps that is becasue not as many people have tried it yet?

  12. Jill says:

    I haven’t read all of the long listed books either, but I like your guesses. We shall find out soon! =)

    Jill

    1. Jackie says:

      Jill, Not long left now :-)

  13. Luci says:

    The Orange Prize tends to include much more mainstream stuff than other literary prizes. I think this is a stronger, more interesting longlist than last year’s. I’ve reviewed 3 and read another 5.

    I do think Room will make the shortlist, I’ve no real idea what others.

    My favourites of the 8 I’ve read were Swamplandia! (reviewed at the Bookbag) and The Invisible Bridge.

    Others I’ve read
    The Birth of Love (reviewed at the Bookbag)
    Whatever You Love (reviewed at the Bookbag)
    Repeat It Today with Tears
    Lyrics Alley
    The Pleasure Seekers

    I’ve started The Memory of Love, bought the Secret Lives one, have to pick up Jamrath’s Menagerie from the library and have ordered The Tiger’s Wife because it’s currently on sale at quite a good price.

    1. Jackie says:

      Luci, In the past I would have agreed with you, but this year’s list is distinctly literary. Room and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives are the only mainstream titles on the list and even they are verging on literary. I think the judges have pulled the prize in a very different direction this year and that is what has led to my general disappointment with it. There is barely enough plot to fill 3 novels in the entire longlist. :-(

  14. I don’t feel like I can predict because I’m only halfway through the longlist, and I haven’t even peeked at most of them yet. But if I was making my own personal shortlist right now, I would have Kathleen Winter’s Annabel at the top (I know…we had different reading experiences of that one for sure), with Peile’s and Hunt’s novels next.

    After that, there are several that I wouldn’t mind seeing listed (including Krauss’, which you’ve listed, but other than that, of your predictions, I’ve only read Room) but I still have nine books ahead of me. There could easily be two others on there that I’d feel passionately about to fill my imaginary list.

    Really do wish that they’d lengthen the time between long- and short-listing, and shorten the gap between short-listing and awarding. Although you haven’t had much fun with this year’s list, so perhaps you’d rather it be over and done with sooner!

    Good luck with your predicting: you’ll be up earlier than I to learn the results!

    1. Jackie says:

      BuriedInPrint, I agree about the length of time between the longlist and shortlist – it is far too short for most literary prizes. I guess that they don’t expect many people to try and read them, but for those of us that do it is far too short.

  15. Orange prize has now been announced: so you got four of them correct. Not bad!

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, I’m happy with that!

  16. Interesting choices Jackie. Like Gareth said on my blog, I would love to have seen what your personal favourite six were rather than what you thought might win (and second guessing judges is sooooo hard) maybe you could let us all know your fav six soon?

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