Book Prizes Orange Prize Other

The 2011 Orange Prize Longlist

Last week I predicted which books would make the Orange longlist. I correctly guessed eight of them, which I thought was quite good considering that I didn’t even know which books had been submitted.

The longlisted books:

  • Room – Emma Donoghue
  • The Birth of Love – Joanna Kavenna
  • Annabel – Kathleen Winter 
  • Louise Doughty – Whatever You Love 
  • Nicole Krauss – Great House DNF
  • Roma Tearne – The Swimmer DNF
  • Téa Obreht – The Tiger’s Wife DNF
  • Emma Henderson – Grace Williams Says it Loud DNF
  • Leila Aboulela – Lyrics Alley
  • Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie
  • Tishani Doshi – The Pleasure Seekers
  • Jennifer Egan – A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Aminatta Forna – The Memory of Love
  • Tessa Hadley – The London Train
  • Samantha Hunt – The Seas
  • Lola Shoneyin – The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
  • Wendy Law-Yone – The Road to Wanting
  • Julie Orringer – The Invisible Bridge
  • Anne Peile – Repeat it Today with Tears
  • Karen Russell – Swamplandia!

NB: DNF = Started book, but did not finish it.

My immediate thoughts on looking at the list were of disappointment. Why didn’t the outstanding The History of History by Ida Hattemer-Higgins make it? What about the quirky, entertaining When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman?






I was very happy to see Room by Emma Donoghue and The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna, but many of the other books on the list have failed to engage me. I have tried and given up on a surprising percentage. It looks as though the Orange Prize judges all share a taste in books as I can see many similarites in style and have noticed that plot isn’t a high priority for any of them. This worries me when I think about tackling the rest of the long list.






Are any books with fantastic plots hiding in the longlist?

Have I just been unlucky in reading books with a similar style? Is the rest of the list more diverse?

I am going to try the entire longlist, but I am not going to complete them all. I love the way these prizes introduce me to many books that I haven’t heard of, but I’m no longer going to force myself to complete anything that I’m not enjoying. I’m especially looking forward to reading  The Invisible Bridge, A Visit from the Goon Squad and Swamplandia!, but I am also interested in trying the ones that I haven’t heard of before.

Which books are you looking forward to reading?

What do you think of the Orange longlist?