Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Orange Longlist 2011

It can't have really escaped anyone's attention that today saw the announcement of the 2011 Orange Longlist. As I said last year, the Orange prize is something that interests me especially because it always manages to introduce me to authors that are new to me as well as often featuring books by authors which I love. I love the focus on women's literature too, since often the Booker prize has been dominated by men.

This year's list caught me unawares - I haven't read so much modern fiction in the last few months and the only book I thought would be a contender was the latest Linda Grant, which hasn't even made it on the list. Looking at the list, I have only read Room by Emma Donaghue (which I thought was far too miserable in theme to be enjoyable), and I gave up on The swimmer (mainly because I recall it having very small print despite being a title which was of obvious interest to me). I found Repeat it today with tears absolutely gripping, although again of disturbing subject matter and enjoyed Grace Williams says it loud enormously, although again its theme was not exactly feel good! As the Guardian article says, this years list tackles "Difficult subjects" and that is certainly my feeling of the three that I have finished.

Here is the list:

  • Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) - Sudanese; 3rd Novel
  • Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (Canongate) - British; 10th Novel
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador) - Irish; 7th Novel
  • The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi (Bloomsbury) - Indian; 1st Novel
  • Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber) - British; 6th Novel
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Corsair) - American; 4th Novel
  • The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury) - British/Sierra Leonean; 3rd Novel
  • The London Train by Tessa Hadley (Jonathan Cape) - British; 4th Novel
  • Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson (Sceptre) - British; 1st Novel
  • The Seas by Samantha Hunt (Corsair) - American; 1st Novel
  • The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Faber and Faber) - British; 2nd Novel
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss (Viking) - American; 3rd Novel
  • The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone (Chatto & Windus) - American; 3rd Novel
  • The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) - Serbian/American; 1st Novel
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Viking) - American; 1st Novel
  • Repeat it Today with Tears by Anne Peile (Serpent's Tail) - British; 1st Novel
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Chatto & Windus) - American; 1st Novel
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin (Serpent's Tail) - British/Nigerian; 1st Novel
  • The Swimmer by Roma Tearne (Harper Press) - British; 4th Novel
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter (Jonathan Cape) - Canadian; 1st Novel
I am intrigued to read "Whatever you love" to compare it to Still Missing. I love Aboulela, so I hope to be able to read that one. I think The seas by Samantha Hunt also sounds interesting.

Anyway, as usual I am prepared to be educated, and I am hoping to read as many of the titles as possible (I won't promise to read them all, as I am not sure that they will all appeal, plus it may be difficult for me to get hold of them). I have been in touch with some kind publishers today and I have several titles on the way! I will look out for others in the library and attempt to beg or borrow (just not steal) any others that I can. I am sure I will discover some gems along the way.

It will be nice to focus a bit more on books again on this blog over the next couple of months, so please do pop in, particularly if you are also going to read some Orange books. And afterwards, I might even resume my project of reading previous Orange longlisted titles under my "Orange Wednesday" feature.


  1. I may have to join you on reading some of these at some point.

  2. This is my first peek at the list so thank you for posting it. Love listening to the Guardian Books podcasts when they are debating the titles and authors in the running!

  3. May I recommend "Jamrach's Menagerie" & "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives". Haven't finished either yet but am enjoying them both.

  4. I have read none of these but have Room on my shelf tbr.

    Going to look out some of them and perhaps will buy some at a later date.

    Look forward to hearing what you think of some of them.

  5. I suspect that this year's list is in part a reaction to last years, which leant heavily towards Britain, the historical and traditional narratives. Still there are some interesting possibilities, but as I have none in the TBR I must wait for reservations to arrive at the library.

    I haven't read Still Missing, just reactions, but I have read Whatever You Love and wouldn't compare the two. The latter started brilliantly but lost the plot rather later on,

  6. The longlist caught me off guard too Verity! I haven't even heard of so many of these books but I have now gone and placed a hold on the ones my library does carry.The only ones from the list I have read are Room which I thought was ok and interesting and Great House which I absolutely loved - so it is definitely my fave at the moment!

  7. I think they've chosen some really good ones! I can't wait to read "The Tiger's Wife" and "Room" is amazing.

  8. I think this list is really exciting: tigers and mermaids and crocs. Wish I could readalong, but as it is I'll look forward to your thoughts on as many as you can get through.

  9. I found doing the past-year's Oranges alongside the current longlist a bit too much last year, so I'm just going to concentrate on the longlist and save the older ones for Orange July. Room is the only one I've completed as of yet, so I have a full reading schedule this season for sure!

  10. I'm so pleased that you found Repeat it Today with Tears gripping - that is a word that I can't associate with many of the others on the list!I think is a shame that so many of the books are depressing. I really hope there are some lighter books in there somewhere. I look forward to seeing what you think of the longlist in the coming weeks.

  11. This year's list has completely passed me by, so glad you've alerted me to it. Great idea having a combined baking and book theme for your blog.

  12. There are several books on the list I hope to read as well. I'm glad you liked Repeat It Today... as that is the one I ordered! I hope to get a few more from my library.

  13. Vivienne - yes, I'll be interested to see which ones you pick up.

    Danielle - I love the Orange reading community and look forward to you joining in.

    Choclette - thanks for visiting! Books and baking seem to go well together.

    Jackie - yes, it feels like the misery memoir year of Orange, but hopefully when I get my teeth into more of them I'll find some light entertainment.

    BIP - I've just spotted your blog post about Orange!

    Jodie - yes, if you put it like that, then it is exciting!

    Jane - yes, it is all very different to last year, but that is good! I did not go for the historical overkill last year.

    Karen and Willa and Jo - I'm afraid I found Room far too depressing to think it was amazing.

    Ali - I have the Wives in my bag today!

    Darlene - I must look out for the podcasts!


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