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American Ladies Dominate This Year’s Orange Prize Shortlist

After yesterday’s strange book prize news — ie, the fact that the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to absolutely no one — we’re happy to have much nicer things to report today, namely the fact that three American writers have been named to the shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain’s annual prize that goes to a novel written by a woman in English. Ann Patchett, a previous winner, is nominated for her sixth novel, State of Wonder; Cynthia Ozick, received a nod for her seventh novel, Foreign Bodies; meanwhile, Madeline Miller’s thrilling debut, Song of Achilles, also scored a coveted spot. Esi Edugyan (for Half Blood Blues), Anne Enright (for The Forgotten Waltz), and Georgina Harding (for Painter of Silence) round out the shortlist for the $48,000 prize.

“I think this is one of the strongest lists I’ve seen for a literary prize and I’m quite an old hand at them now,” says Joanna Trollope, chair of this year’s judges. “It is a list of international standing… They are all so readable. I know Stella Rimington got shot down last year for using that word, but what is the point of a book if it isn’t? Anyone who reads any of them will be left with so much to think about afterwards. They can be read by academics, they can be read by people in local book clubs. There is so much meat in them.” The lucky winner will be announced at a London ceremony on May 30. While the odds apparently favor Ozick 2 to 1, who do you think will be this year’s Téa Obreht? [via Guardian]

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