April 12, 2011 / 9:54 AM / 8 years ago

Three debut novelists contest female Orange prize

LONDON (Reuters) - Three first-time novelists and three veterans have been chosen to contest this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction, which honors women writers.

First-time novelists Serbian/American Tea Obreht (“The Tiger’s Wife”), Canadian Kathleen Winter (“Annabel”) and Briton Emma Henderson (“Grace Williams Says it Loud”) will be in the running for the 30,000 pound ($49,100) prize to be awarded on June 8, organizers said on Tuesday.

The more experienced members of the short-list are American Nicole Krauss with her third novel “Great House,” British/Sierra Leonean novelist Aminatta Foma with her second novel “The Memory of Love”, and veteran Irish writer Emma Donoghue on her seventh novel “Room.”

“The number of first-time novelists is an indicator of the rude health of women’s writing,” said prize panel chair Bettany Hughes. “The verve and scope of storylines pays compliment to the female imagination.”

Hughes said the judging meeting “fizzed” for hours with conversations about the originality, excellence and readability of the books.

“Even though the stories in our final choices range from kidnapping to colonialism, from the persistence of love to Balkan folk-memory, from hermaphroditism to abuse in care, the books are written with such a skillful lightness of touch, humor, sympathy and passion, they all make for an exhilarating and uplifting read,” she said.

The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible and is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman.

Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Steve Addison

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