Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna beats Wolf Hall to Orange prize
American novelist's epic novel holds off Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel to take £30,000 Orange prize for fiction

Mark Brown, arts correspondent ,, Wednesday 9 June 2010

Left - The Orange prize winning author Barbara Kingsolver. Photograph: John McDonnell/Washington Post/Getty Images

An epic, ambitious novel that straddles the Mexican revolution and the crazed communist witch-hunts of 1950s America was tonight named winner of this year's Orange prize for fiction.
Barbara Kingsolver took the £30,000 prize for The Lacuna, her first, and eagerly awaited, novel since the popular book club favourite The Poisonwood Bible in 2000.

The American novelist held off heavyweight competition in the form of Hilary Mantel, for Wolf Hall, and Lorrie Moore, for A Gate at the Stairs, to take what is the biggest literary award for women writers.
Daisy Goodwin, the TV producer who chaired this year's judges, praised The Lacuna's "breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy" and said the winner was only ever between the three books .
"It was a bit like trying to choose between your three beloved children," she said.
"In the end I suppose that while a couple of us felt very passionately about The Lacuna everyone of us was happy for it to be named winner. They were three of the finest books I've read in a long time. It wasn't like we were scraping in any sense.

The Lacuna, made up of memoir, diaries, letters, newspaper reports and congressional transcripts, is arguably the most demanding of the six books on the shortlist. It's a doorstopping novel that needs to be read properly rather than in snatches and it tackles big subjects that resonate today – not least, the media creation of, and obsession with, celebrity.
Full report at The Guardian.

And reviews of The Lacuna from The Guardian. , The Independent, and The Telegraph.

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