London, 25 March 2009:
The three girls and three boys, aged between 16 – 19, will read the 20 books longlisted for the 2009 Orange Prize, then meet to choose their own shortlist of six and subsequently, a winner. They will be sharing their experiences of judging a book prize publicly online via the teenage website, Spinebreakers .
The official Orange Prize judging panel this year includes broadcaster Fi Glover (Chair), writer and novelist Bidisha, journalist and academic Sarah Churchwell, journalist Kira Cochrane and entrepreneur Martha LaneFox.
The choices of the youth panel will not influence the decisions of the official panel, but will be made public after the announcement of the Orange Prize shortlist in April. Orange Prize Honorary Director, the novelist Kate Mosse, will sit in on the discussions of both sets of judges and act as facilitator of the youth panel.
The youth panel consists of:
· Lily Dessau (16), studying Art, English, History and Maths and a fan of Philip Pullman, George Orwell and Malorie Blackman
· Joe Kerridge (16), an avid reader of Jack Kerouac and Harold Pinter
· Clarissa Pabi (18), currently studying for A-levels in English Literature, Philosophy and Maths whose favourite authors include Mary Shelley, Will Self and J.K. Rowling
· Rossana Duarte (18) also studying for A-levels who enjoys reading and writing poetry in her spare time and cites Jane Austen, Stephen Fry and Isabel Allende as her favourite authors
· Francis Gene-Rowe (18), a gap year student, whose favourite authors include Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner and Scott Fitzgerald
· Max Elsworth (19) an A-level student and aspiring journalist who lists Tolkien, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, R.L Stine and J.K. Rowling as his top five authors
The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international 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. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.