Posted by: Corri van de Stege | February 11, 2008

The Orange Prize Project


 New challenges and new ‘projects’ emerge here, there and everywhere.  The Orange Prize Project is a new reading project, put up by Wendy.  Fortunately it is long term, so I have dared sign up for it.  Looking at the lists I am quite surprised at how many I have in fact read already, although I seem to have been more in tune with the winners over the last few years, and less so further back.  The Challenge asks participants to list the books they have read and indicate what they intend to read and review, but of course, this is an ongoing project so new ones can be added.  Perhaps I’ll end up having read them all, at one point (in the distant future).  I will post my list of books that I have already read, including the winners, on  The Orange Prize Project blog and will just mention on this site that I am currently reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (shortlisted for 2004).  I don’t know what happened in 1999 but I have not read a single book, neither the winner nor any of the othes on the shortlist for that year.  I will therefore make amends and put the winner  A crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne on my reading list for this year.  For all other years I have minimally read one and in most cases more than one.   Anyway, you can check the list.   2008: the year of challenges!

Interestingly, Zadie Smith in the Sunday Times 10 February  attacks all literary prizes, including the Orange Prize suggesting that they are no more than fronts for brand consolidation (mobile phones, coffee, beer, and frozen food).  May be so, but why has she not then refused the prizes she won?  In 2006 she won the Orange Fiction Prize for On Beauty while in 2000 she won the Whitbread (beer) book award for her first novel White Teeth.



  1. After much deliberation and reading two books, I have determined that Zadie Smith will not show up on my radar for a long time!

  2. There are always going to be those who whine and moan about the purity of their art so they can sound more elite. They don’t say no to the awards and prestige but then get snobby about it. Sounds like Zadie Smith is one of those. What a turn off.

  3. We had a Nobel Prize for Literature in Spain, Camilo Jose Cela, who said the Nobel Prize was a prize for mediocrities and very political… until he was awarded the Prize.

  4. Yes, it is a real turn off and I am also inclined to leave her well alone for a while. As Jose says, she is not the only one….

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