Debut SONG OF ACHILLES on Orange Prize Shortlist

The judges for the major international prize for books written by women, the UK’s Orange Prize, announced their short list this morning. The prize was created in 1996 by a group of reviewers, librarians, and others in the U.K.’s book world, who felt that book prizes were disproportionately awarded to men.

Among the titles are three that were librarian favorites on GalleyChat:

The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller (HarperCollins/Ecco Press)

Several libraries are showing heavy holds on this debut (as high as 10/1), published in early March. It received a strong review from Mary Doria Russell (Doc, Random House, 2011) in the Washington Post. USA Today also reviewed it, saying, “It takes a truly gifted writer to make a song this old feel this beautifully new.”

The Orange Prize judges comment, “Terrific. The Trojan Wars and the legendary love story of Patroclus and Achilles told with all the intensity and accuracy that this world of violence and superstition and romance deserves.”

The Forgotten Waltz, Anne Enright, (Norton, 10/3; Thorndike large print)

This book is still showing a wait list in most libraries after being published in October.

The Orange Prize judges say, “What an achievement, we all thought — a flawed heroine, a modern tale of unromantic adultery and conflicted parental loyalties, and a compelling, believable, lyrical read.” This is the fourth novel for Enright, who lives in Dublin

State of WonderAnn Patchett, (Harper, 6/6; Recorded BooksHarperLuxeHarperAudio; ebook from OverDrive)

The title on the short list that libraries own in the greatest quantities. Nevertheless, most are still dealing with heavy holds.

After the jump, the other three titles on the list:

Cynthia Ozick, Foreign Bodies, (HMH, 11/2010 — published in the UK later than in the US, making it eligible for this year’s award) — American Ozick, 84, is no stranger to awards for her many works of fiction and essays.

Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues, (Macmillan/Picador, 2/28; Center Point large print) — already won Canada’s Giller Prize in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Booker. Say the judges, “We were all struck by the sustained and powerful voice, and sense of place and period, in this wonderful novel of jazz, war-torn Europe, and remorse.”

Georgina Harding, Painter of Silence, (Bloomsbury US, 9/18/12) — will be published in the U.S. in September. The judges comment: “We were impressed by this deceptively quiet book, which grows in effect and strength as it goes on, portraying a deep understanding of unconventional ways of self-expression, and of relationships. The writing is beautiful.”

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