The Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced on April 17th. Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, which won the Giller, and Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder are nominated, and I feel strongly that these two are favourites for the Prize. The other nominees are Anne Enright for The Forgotten Waltz, Cynthia Ozick for Foreign Bodies, Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles and Georgina Harding for Painter of Silence.
It is a talented field: Patchett has already won the award, in 2002 for Bel Canto, Enright is a Booker winner (2007’s The Gathering), Half-Blood Blues has been nominated for myriad prizes this year, and Ozick is an American octogenarian with many accolades to her name. The dark horse pick is The Song of Achilles. Miller’s debut novel is a sweeping retelling of The Iliad, repositioning Achilles and Patroclus as lovers. Finally, Harding is an unknown to me, since her book is not available here yet, and I’ve not heard of her previously. It could be great! I have no idea.
If I had to guess, I would say State of Wonder is the likely winner, though I would not be surprised if it went to Edugyan, Enright, or Ozick.
The winner will be announced on May 30th, 2012.