The only award designed purely to applaud female literary talent, the Orange Prize For Fiction has become a beacon for world-class women authors, with previous winners including the brilliant Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver and Andrea Levy. The shortlist was announced on Tuesday (12 April) and the final six authors will fight it out for the coveted £30,000 prize announced on 8 June. This means you’ve got approximately one month and 26 days to get to grips with the six essential books that everyone will be talking about this summer.
With this handy list you can tick them off as you go along. Happy reading...
Room by Emma Donoghue
Loosely based on the Josef Fritzl case, this gripping tale follows five-year-old Jack and his ‘Ma’ in the 12-foot sqaure locked room they call home. It is tense, beautifully written and captures the tender dynamics of a mother/son relationship.
The Memory Of Love by Aminatta Forna
Set in South Africa in the wake of civil war in the Nineties, Forna weaves together the stories of two men who are a generation apart coming to terms with their memories of war. A slow burner that’s utterly intriguing.
Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson
Emma Henderson’s debut novel is a first-person narrative of mentally disabled Grace Williams, who is sent to a mental hospital aged 11. It explores the stigma of disability in the Fifties. A poignant and thoughtprovoking read.
Great House by Nicole Krauss
Three intertwining narratives spanning over different generations and continents orbit around one central item: a desk of many draws which hides a multitude of sins, and endless mystery. The narration is fractured but very powerful.
The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
After the loss of her grandfather, Natalia is determined to uncover the truth behind his death. She meets the titular tiger’s wife along the way who takes her on an intriguing journey. Evocative with an elegantly woven narrative.
£12.99, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
A powerful story of a boy born a hermaphrodite but raised as a male in a remote coastal town in Sixties Canada. This is an exploration of the meaning of identity. Compelling and sensitively written.
£12.99, Jonathan Cape
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Picture Credit: Rex Features