Yesterday saw the announcement of the longlist for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction (the awards formerly known as the Orange Prize) and, unsurprisingly, the promotion of the titles and the debate about their worthiness has begun in earnest.
I am always intrigued by book awards. Not only do they inspire me to indulge in my private, meandering thoughts about what my own acceptance speech would be like at such an event (brief and blundering, most probably), but they also interest me because they always seem to throw up some great opinions about the who, the why, the what and the really? Her? of the publishing industry.
Of course, everyone seems to be hoping that Hilary Mantel won’t win – again. Poor Hilary Mantel. You write a bloody good book which wins lots of awards and then everyone gets sick of you and your bloody good book and misquotes your views of Kate Middleton in the press and starts to root for the underdog. Fascinating psychology, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Still, I think she is being treated a little harshly.
Having said that, I’m rooting for M. L Stedman whose wonderful debut The Light Between Oceans has also been long listed. I was fortunate to be invited to the book launch of The Light Between Oceans at the 2012 London Book Fair where I met and spoke to the author. A more humble, unassuming, lovely individual you could not hope to meet and I am sure she would be a very worthy winner of this particular award. You can read my review of the book and my interview with the author here.
In the meantime, you can follow the progress of the awards at the Women’s Prize for Fiction website. The shortlist will be announced at the London Book Fair on 16th April.