The Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, awarded annually for the best original full-length novel by a female author of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK in the preceding year.
The winner of the book award receives £30,000, along with a bronze sculpture called the "Bessie" created by artist Grizel Niven, the sister of actor/writer David Niven.
2005 saw the introduction of the new Orange Broadband Award for New Writers which takes the form of a £10,000 bursary, provided by Arts Council England.
WINNER: Marilynne Robinson: Home (Virago), American, 3rd Novel
Hundreds of thousands of readers were enthralled and delighted by the luminous, tender voice of John Ames in Gilead, Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Now comes HOME, a deeply affecting novel that takes place in the same period and same Iowa town of Gilead. This is Jack's story. Jack ? prodigal son of the Boughton family, godson and namesake of John Ames, gone twenty years ? has come home looking for refuge and to try to make peace with a past littered with trouble and pain. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold down a job, Jack is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton's most beloved child. His sister Glory has also returned to Gilead, fleeing her own mistakes, to care for their dying father. Brilliant, loveable, wayward, Jack forges an intense new bond with Glory and engages painfully with his father and his father's old friend John Ames.
Ellen Feldman: Scottsboro: A Novel (Picador), American, 3rd Novel
In Alabama, 1931, a posse stops a freight train and arrests nine black youths. Their crime: fighting with white boys. Then two white girls emerge from another freight car, and as fast as anyone can say Jim Crow, the cry of rape goes up. One of the girls sticks to her story. The other changes her tune, again and again. A young journalist, whose only connection to the incident is her overheated social conscience, fights to save the nine youths from the electric chair, redeem the girl who repents her lie, and make amends for her own past. Intertwining historical actors and fictional characters, stirring racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism into an explosive brew, "Scottsboro" is a novel of a shocking injustice that convulsed the nation and reverberated around the world, destroyed lives, forged careers, and brought out the worst and the best in the men and women who fought for the cause.
Samantha Harvey: The Wilderness (Jonathan Cape), British, 1st Novel
It's Jake's birthday. He is sitting in a small plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life - his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his early sixties, and he isn't quite the man he used to be. He has lost his wife, his son is in prison, and he is about to lose his past. Jake has Alzheimer's. As the disease takes hold of him, Jake struggles to hold on to his personal story, to his memories and identity, but they become increasingly elusive and unreliable. What happened to his daughter? Is she alive, or long dead? And why exactly is his son in prison? What went so wrong in his life? There was a cherry tree once, and a yellow dress, but what exactly do they mean?As Jake, assisted by 'poor Eleanor', a childhood friend with whom for some unfathomable reason he seems to be sleeping, fights the inevitable dying of the light, the key events of his life keep changing as he tries to grasp them, and what until recently seemed solid fact is melting into surreal dreams or nightmarish imaginings. Is there anything he'll be able to salvage from the wreckage? Beauty, perhaps, the memory of love, or nothing at all? From the first sentence to the last, "The Wilderness" holds us in its grip. This is writing of extraordinary power and beauty.
Samantha Hunt: The Invention of Everything Else Else (HarvillSecker), American, 2nd NovelIn "The Invention of Everything Else", Samantha Hunt fictionalises the story of the Serbian-born scientist Nikola Tesla, inventor of radio and creator of AC electricity, a notoriously marginalised genius whose wild eccentricities, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and germ-phobia, have made him a counter culture icon, but who faded into obscurity in his final years and died in poverty, suspected of anti-American sentiment. His carelessness about protecting his ideas through patents meant that he was eclipsed in reputation by Thomas Edison and Marconi, both of whom built fortunes by stealing Tesla's ideas."The Invention of Everything Else" revolves around the twin poles of the inventor, and Louisa, a highly sensitive and imaginative young woman who encounters Tesla at the end of his life. It is also a novel about a father and a daughter, a love story, a New York story, and a literary mystery. In this meticulously researched and biographically accurate novel, Samantha Hunt weaves these elements into a narrative that is buoyant, engaging, and triumphant. "The Invention of Everything Else" is abeautiful, moving, and thrilling exploration of human loneliness and isolation and the opposing power of emotional and scientific imagination.
Deirdre Madden: Molly Fox's Birthday (Faber and Faber), Irish, 7th NovelDublin. Midsummer. While absent in New York, the celebrated actor Molly Fox has loaned her house to a playwright friend, who is struggling to write a new work. Over the course of this, the longest day of the year, the playwright reflects upon her own life, Molly's, and that of their mutual friend Andrew, whom she has known since university. Why does Molly never celebrate her own birthday, which falls upon this day? What does it mean to be a playwright or an actor? How have their relationships evolved over the course of many years? "Molly Fox's Birthday" calls into question the ideas that we hold about who we are; and shows how the past informs the present in ways we might never have imagined.
Kamila Shamsie: Burnt Shadows (Bloomsbury), Pakistani/British, 5th Novel
In a prison cell in the US, a man stands trembling, naked, fearfully waiting to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay. How did it come to this? he wonders August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka steps out onto her veranda, taking in the view of theterraced slopes leading up to the sky. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one, in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. In a split second, the world turns white. In the next, it explodes with the sound of fire and the horror of realisation. In the numbing aftermath of a bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, she travels to Delhi two years later. There she walks into the lives of Konrad's half-sister, Elizabeth, her husband James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu. As the years unravel, new homes replace those left behind and old wars are seamlessly usurped by new conflicts. But the shadows of history - personal, political - are cast over the entwined worlds of the Burtons, Ashrafs and the Tanakas as they are transported from Pakistan to New York, and in the novel's astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound them together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences. Sweeping in its scope and mesmerising in its evocation of time and place, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of disasters evaded and confronted, loyalties offered and repaid, and loves rewarded and betrayed.
Debra Adelaide: The Household Guide to Dying (HarperCollins), Australian, 4th Novel - Buy
Gaynor Arnold: Girl in a Blue Dress (Tindal Street Press), British, 1st Novel - Buy Now
Lissa Evans: Their Finest Hour and a Half (Doubleday), British, 3rd Novel - Buy Now
Bernadine Evaristo: Blonde Roots (Hamish Hamilton), British, 4th Novel - Buy Now
Laura Fish: Strange Music (Jonathan Cape), British, 2nd Novel - Buy Now
V.V. Ganeshananthan: Love Marriage (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), American, 1st Novel - Buy Now
Allegra Goodman: Intuition (Atlantic Books), American, 6th Novel - Buy Now
Michelle de Kretser: The Lost Dog (Chatto & Windus), Australian, 3rd Novel - Buy Now
Toni Morrison: A Mercy (Chatto & Windus), American, 9th Novel - Buy Now
Gina Ochsner: The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight (Portobello Books), American, 1st Novel - Buy Now
Preeta Samarasan: Evening Is the Whole Day (Fourth Estate), Malaysian, 1st Novel - Buy Now
Curtis Sittenfeld: American Wife (Doubleday), American, 3rd Novel - Buy Now
Miriam Toews: The Flying Troutmans (Faber and Faber), Canadian, 4th Novel - Buy Now
Ann Weisgarber: The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (Macmillan New Writing), American, 1st Novel - Buy Now
An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun, Virago
Joon is a young Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father's infidelity and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of thirteen, decides she's better off on her own and sets out on a harrowing and sometimes tragic journey, exposing herself to all the pain and difficulty of a life lived on the margins. Joon's years on the streets take her from a homeless shelter to an escort club, through struggles with addiction, to jobs selling newspapers and cosmetics, committing petty crimes, and, finally, towards something resembling hope. In raw and beautiful prose, Nami Mun tells the story of a young woman who is at once tough yet vulnerable, world-weary yet naive, faced with insurmountable odds and yet fiercely determined to survive. Honest, inventive and profoundly moving, Miles From Nowhere is a dazzling debut novel that will haunt and inspire.
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber, Macmillan New Writing
This book is short-listed for the Orange Award for New Writers and long-listed for the Orange Prize Winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Debut Novel Prize. It is 1917 in the South Dakota Badlands, and summer has been hard. Fourteen years have passed since Rachel and Isaac DuPree left Chicago to stake a claim in this unforgiving land. Isaac, a former Buffalo Soldier, is fiercely proud: black families are rare in the West, and black ranchers even rarer. But it hasn't rained in months, the cattle bellow with thirst, and supplies are dwindling. Pregnant, and struggling to feed her family, Rachel is isolated by more than just geography. She is determined to give her surviving children the life they deserve, but she knows that her husband will never leave his ranch: land means a measure of equality with the white man, and Isaac DuPree is not about to give it up just because times are hard. Somehow Rachel must find the strength to do what is right - for her children, for her husband, and for herself. Moving and majestic, "The Personal History of Rachel DuPree" is an unforgettable novel about love and loyalty, homeland and belonging. Above all, it is the story of one woman's courage in the face of the most punishing adversity.