Orange Prize Other

Who will be longlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize?

The longlist for the 2011 Orange Prize will be announced on the 16th March.

The prize is awarded to the woman who, in the opinion of the judges, has written the best, eligible full-length novel in English.

As today is International Women’s Day I thought it was the perfect time to predict which books might make it onto the list this year.

Here are the 20 novels that I think will be selected next week:


We Had it So Good by Linda Grant

The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna

The History of History: A Novel of Berlin by Ida Hattemer-Higgins

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Five Bells by Gail Jones

Room by Emma Donoghue

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud

True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies

Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

Great House by Nicole Krauss

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell

Mr. Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons


The London Train by Tessa Hadley

The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Which books do you think will make it onto the Orange longlist?

Have I missed any obvious contenders?

65 replies on “Who will be longlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize?”

Tricia, I’ve been trying to read the books I think will make the list, but in the last few months I’ve managed to eliminate more than I’ve added. This means I’ve only managed to read 7 from my list. I’m working my way through them at the moment and will have hopefully added another 2 or 3 before the announcement.

I like your list, Jackie. I have read 2 (Room and The London Train) and they were both great. I have another 4 in the TBR. So if you’re predictions come true, there’ll be no scrabbling around to find something to read from the list.

LizzySiddal, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that at least some of your 4 make the list as I know how nice it is to be able to pick one up as soon as the announcement is made. 🙂

Oooh, this is not only an excellent set of predictions but a pretty good list to work your way through the year. I wonder whether Lionel Shriver might make it for So Much For That? I keep meaning to track down that Mr Chartwell book – looks really good.

Lyndsey, So Much for That was one of the books I looked into, but it was published in March last year and so eligible for last years prize. I’m hoping to pick up a copy of Mr Chartwell in the library later today – it does sound like a very good book. Let’s hope it is as good as it sounds.

Some good pics there – I definitely think Linda Grant will be on the list. I’m not too up with what female writing has been published this year (I guess I rely too much on the Orange prize to highlight it), so I’m quite interested as I haven’t heard of all of your selections. I’ve only read 7 of your list. I wasn’t hugely impressed with True Things about me.

Verity, I think you are very up to date with female writing – I have only read 7 of the books too. It is hard becasue a lot of them have only been published in the last few days, but I hope to strike a few more off my list before the actual one is announced.

Some goodies there which I hope will make it onto the list, of that selection I have read and loved Room, Mr Chartwell, The Hand that First Held Mine and I also liked We Had it So Good and Mr Rosenblum’s List. The Postmistress really irritated me. I have The Memory of Love and Great House on my wishlist oh and When God was a Rabbit too on my library reservation list.

What are the criteria for nomination, Jackie, publication date wise?

Teresa, Books are eligible if they are published in the UK between 1st April 2010 and 31st March 2011. It sounds as though we are liking similar books so I need to get hold of We Had it So Good. It is so nice to have so many wonderful reads in the pipeline – I love this time of year 🙂

I’ve only read three of these books. I thought The Postmistress was disappointing but I enjoyed Mr Chartwell and We Had It So Good. It will be interesting to see how many of your predictions make the list!

Helen, I haven’t read The Postmistress because I have a strong suspicion that I won’t enjoy it either, but so many others do I decided to include it. It was my 20th choice, so only just made the cut…

I’m going to have to track down some of those books you’ve listed. Obviously I agree that Room should be there. And I’m currently reading The Sentimentalists and I’m finding that I do agree with it’s Giller win and I think it should be nominated for this as well.

I have read Great House but I didn’t like it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it is nominated given how much a lot of people liked it.

Shannon, I would be very surprised if Great House didn’t make the list. I haven’t read it yet (copy waiting in the library for me to collect) but its inclusion on so many prize lists and the ravings I’ve seen around the Internet would indicate that it is very good. I’ll be interested to see what I make of it.

I’ve read the first chapter of The Sentimentalists and think it is too slow for me, but can see its quality. I’ll be interested to see if it gets picked.

Actually having now finished The Sentimentalists, I no longer agree with it being the Giller winner. I’d be surprised if it is nominated for this prize, though I do think that maybe it support from the literary community may help that moreso than the quality of the book.

Shannon, It is interesting that your opinion changed so much as you neared the end. I’m not going to attempt it as I know it isn’t for me, but it will be interesting to see whether or not the Oranges judges pick it.

Everything I’ve read here, I’ve liked (Mr Chartwell, Great House, True Things About Me) – I’d be especially surprised if Mr Chartwell doesn’t get on there. Really looking forward to reading The Sentimentalists, Annabel, and The Tiger’s Wife, so this is a solid reading list, whether all these books get longlisted or not!

Lija, Thank you. This list is a strong indication of the books I’m most looking forward to reading. I really hope that my investigations have unearthed some books that other people will enjoy as much as I hope I will.

So far I’ve only read Mr Rosenblum’s List out of all your picks. I really enjoyed it. Great book. I’ve got Room and The Hand That First Held Mine lined up to read and have heard great things about When God Was a Rabbit. (I’m hoping it’s not all hype.) Whatever gets longlisted, this is a terrific reading list. I might bookmark this and work through as many as I can.

Kath, Mr Rosenblum’s List was too charming for me, but I can’t fault the writing and so can see why others love it. I’d be very surprised if it didn’t make the longlist.

I really enjoyed When God Was a Rabbit. It is so original and funny. I hope it makes the list too.

Thanks for commenting on my blog for the first time 🙂

Dan, The Still Point was long listed last year and so isn’t eligible this time around. It might be a book I enjoy at another time – I think it just wasn’t suited to my mood last month.

Brenna, I think I prefer the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, but it annoys me that I can’t get hold of all the winning books in this country when the lists are published. The fact almost all the Oranges are available when the long list is announced makes me more likely to get excited by it and I’m excited already 🙂

Judith, I didn’t make it to the end of Rosenblum. Nothing wrong with it, just too charming for my taste. I know a lot of people love it and so I have a strong feeling it will make the cut. I’m pleased that you found the rest of my list tasty 🙂

Tricia, I hadn’t heard of Bad Marie until I saw it on the Tournament of Books battle today. I’ve just looked into it and saw it was published straight to paperback here in the UK. I wonder if that is an indication the publishers didn’t submit it? I’ll be interested to see if it makes it, but I think maybe it hasn’t had as much publicity/support this side of the Atlantic.

Well, out of your list – I’ve only read two (ROOM, and The Postmistress) both of which I agree are good enough to make the long list (maybe even the short list). I have a couple of others on my TBR pile…so I hope they make the list 🙂

Wendy, I think that Room will make it through to the short list quite easily. I can’t decide if I want it to win (love it, but wonder if another book could do with the publicity) but I think it has a very strong chance of winning too. I’m very interested to see which books make the short list, but that is getting ahead of myself….

Oh, oh, I love this time of year! Like you I am eagerly awaiting next week’s announcement. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas, and your post has whet my appetite. I was trying to put together my own list of possible longlisters in my head yesterday, but only got as far as Mr Chartwell, Never Had it So Good and The History of History before I lost track of what had been published when. Do you have a source you go to for lists of recently published books, or just a ridiculously good memory?

Your list looks delicious, and if it were the actual list I would jump straight into a 20 book readathon like last year. I’m particularly hoping that Annabel and Great House make the list, because I’m longing to read them. The only book I’d put on that you haven’t is Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. I’m just on page 49 now and completely in love with it.

Victoria, No – I have a terrible memory! I have been keeping this post as a draft since about November. Every time I came across a book which I felt might be a contender for the prize I added it to the list. I checked that the publication dates matched the eligibility criteria and then set about reading as many as possible. Unfortunately most of the time this reading eliminated the book from my list, but after long consideration I ended up with these 20.

I think Swamplandia! Has a good chance of making the longlist. It was on my list at one point, but it fell off for no particular reason. I’ll be interested to see if it makes it and I look forward to comparing notes on the real longlist next week. 🙂

Are all of these necessarily books you’ve read and liked, or does the list also include books you’ve heard of/didn’t like but know were very popular and well-regarded?

I’ll admit that I’ve read not a single one of these, but I also think the number of contemporary novels I’ve read in the last years is so small, it is worth noting. I’ve never followed the Orange Prize so much as to actually read the books longlisted or shortlisted (actually, I’ve never followed any award this way…) but it does interest me to see the process – the whittling down from a dozen or so books to six and then finally to one.

Bibliobio, I have read 8 of the above books and have chosen the rest based on the comments of others who have read them. Popularity doesn’t really come into it as some of the most popular books are never likely to win an award like this, but quality does.

For example: I haven’t read Five Bells (it is only released in the UK today), but have heard wonderful things about it via Australian bloggers that I trust. Not many people will have heard about it, but I think the conversations I have had with those who have indicate that it is one of the best books written by a woman this year.

It is really hard to create longlists as I have no idea what was submitted or the reading taste of the judges. It will be interesting to see how many I get right.

I actually recognise more than half of th books on that list! Which just shows how good bookblogging is for your general knowledge of books. Not that I have read any of them :\ So I shall trust your opinion completely.

Iris, Book blogging has transformed my knowledge of the publishing world. A few years ago I would have been lucky to have heard about any of the books at the long list stage. Isn’t blogging wonderful?! 🙂

I havent read it, but I think Allegra Goodman’s The Cookbook Collector might be a contender. Goodman is a great writer and she’s been on the longlist before. I really enjoyed Intuition

I would also speculate on Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick and The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer and perhaps Vida by Patricia Engel and The Lotus Eaters by Tatiana Soli.

Definitely can’t wait to see the list!

Michelle, I haven’t heard of Vida, but did consider the other three. I didn’t think The Lotus Eaters was strong enough and read a few less than positive reviews for The Invisible Bridge. I didn’t see any real ravings for Foreign Bodies either, but having not read it I can’t really say. It will be interesting to see if any of them make it. Roll on Wednesday 🙂

I’m excited about the longlist next week, excited to see your predictions and very excited to see the Orange Prize link to your post on FB (which led me here)!

I think you are spot on with some of your predictions; the only one I can add is The Beauty of the Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb (my copy of which I am itching to read and then it’s Great House by Nicole Krauss). Hm, I don’t see The Lessons by Naomi Alderman mentioned anywhere here but perhaps it will feature too.

Claire, Thanks for letting me know about the Orange Prize facebook page – that is lovely news.

I didn’t realise that the Camilla Gibb had been published here yet – I’ll have to add it to my library wishlist right now! I think you are right about its inclusion – not sure which book I’d cross off my longlist though…

I haven’t heard of The Lessons – I’m have to go and look it up now. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.

Oh … and I just saw The Nobodies Album on the list … and that you are reading it. I read it not too long ago and really liked it. I think Carolyn Parkhurst is a really gifted writer who takes chances with what she is doing. I’ll be curious to see what you think of it.

Jenners, My sidebar isn’t quite right at the moment, but I hope to start The Nobodies Album sometime next week. I’ve seen several great reviews for it so I really hope it lives up to expectations. Fingers crossed.

I love how you make your predictions every year Jackie – I always find some good reads that I had never even heard of! For me it has to be Great House – I simply adored it when I read it last year. I also think the Linda Grant and Maggie O’Farrell books were brilliant so I would hope to see them there too.

Karen, It is so nice to know that you like my predictions – I just hope they are vaguely right so I don’t look too stupid!

I’ve just got hold of Great House and look forward to starting it later today. I hope it is as good as everyone says it is 🙂

Great predictions! I would love to see Sue Miller get a nod for the excellent The Lake-Shore Limited. She was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle for Family Pictures, but overlooked at prize time ever since. Also loved Strangers At The Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes. I think Room, Great House, and Goon Squad are definites. Is Wolf Hall too old?

Shane-Malcolm, I have heard of Sue Miller, but never tried her writing before. I hadn’t heard of the book The Lake Shore Limited, so thank you for drawing it to my attention. A brief bit of Internet searching makes it sound like a beautifully written book, but I’m not sure the 9/11 subject matter is for me. Will be interesting to see if it makes the list.

I haven’t heard of Jennifer Vanderbes either – not sure Strangers at the Feast has been released here in the UK?

Wolf Hall made the short list last year.

I think I’d be very surprised if any of the following failed to make the long list: Room, Great House, Goon Squad, We Had it so Good, The Hand That First Held Mine and Mr Chartwell. Looks like a very strong year for the Orange. I can’t imagine trying to whittle it down to a short list of 6. Thanks for commenting on my blog for the first time.

Ooh, just had another thought: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender might be a contender. I’ve only read her short stories – very strange! – but bought the novel today and think it sounds wonderful.

Victoria, Yes. I did think about including Lemon Cake. I haven’t read it as I don’t think I’ll enjoy the magical realism, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the Orange list. It seems to be a very strong year for the prize – so many contenders in with a good chance. I’m looking forward to the big reveal.

So many of the new books I’m not familiar with, but nice to see Nicole Krauss there, though I’ve yet to read that title. I’d been meaning to read Linda Grant and Maggie O’Farrell but haven’t been able to get a hold of their books yet. I love reading your predictions. 🙂

I tried not to look at your list until I was done finalizing mine. I had such a hard time knocking it down to 20. In the end, we agree on eight of our predictions. I’m so curious to see what makes the list. I hope to be completely shocked by the inclusion of a few because it’s so much fun!

Carrie, It was great to see your predictions – so many books I hadn’t thought of. I was surprised that you didn’t include Great House as I think that is one of the certs.

I hope there will be a few surprises on the list too – I love being introduced to a new books. I look forward to the big reveal on Wednesday 🙂

Another great prediction list! Am looking forward to the longlist to enrich my summer reading. I’d add Half Life by Roopa Farooki, one of my favourite reads from last year. Very different from her previous books (although I loved those too), it’s short, dark and much more literary. Losing her trademark humour somehow stripped back the storytelling, and the writing is beautiful. With the previous longlisting and shortlisting I’d say this might well make the list.

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