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Archive for March 16th, 2011

The longlist for the 2011 Orange prize for Fiction was announced this morning; the full list is here:

It’s particularly interesting to see that nine of the twenty novels are debuts, compared with seven in 2010; not an insignificant rise. Whether calculated or not (and I’m sure the judges would assert not), the increase in focus on first-timers seems part of an overall move to raise the profile of new novelists. This year has seen a Waterstone’s promotion centered around eleven new authors, and the BBC’s Culture Show ran a ‘Twelve of the Best New Novelists’ programme to tie in with World Book Night earlier this month. Much has been written about what this amounts to; realistically, we won’t know the answer to that for another six months or so, when a real sense of sales patterns for these new authors becomes more visible.

For now, though, I’m off to track down the longlisted books here, starting with the newbies. And let’s start the countdown clock on the grumbles about female-only lists being ‘unfair’…

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