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09 June 2006 @ 10:16 am
Zadie Smith wins the Orange Prize  
Finally! She may not have won the Booker (*growls*), but Zadie Smith has finally won a major literary prize. Apparently, she was 'stunned' at the announcement that On Beauty had won the Orange Prize, and she was very gracious in her acceptance speech after the event.

The Daily Mail article focuses on Zadie's reaction to the news, while The Times focuses on the panel's dissent.

While I am delighted that's she's getting the accolade she deserves for this brilliant work, there is part of me that is still very irked that it's the Orange Prize, a prize for the best novel in English by a woman author. Zadie beat out some brilliant novelists, including Nicole Krauss, but I'm still waiting for the day when the literary establishment will acknowledge her as not just a great female novelist, but a great novelist full stop. On Beauty is an amazing work--a tour de force of characterisation, an intricately plotted masterpiece with so much to say on issues as diverse as race, sexual politics, aestheticism, academic politics and female identity. Clearly we still *need* the Orange Prize if this work can't win other prizes. Why don't they just formalise the Booker as the 'boys club' prize and be done with it? Why isn't the Orange as prestigious? Argh!

*throws rotten tomatoes at the Booker judging panel*

Well done, Zadie! You are amazingly serene and gracious in a world that doesn't give you the credit you deserve. I hope you enjoy your win.
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slinklingslinkling on June 13th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
On Beauty really is excellent; I was particularly fascinated by the ways she updates Forster. Because I'm a huge Forster fan, and had been afraid that what she was doing would feel snotty or blasphemous or even just unnecessary -- but instead it was thoughtful and interesting and relevant, while still being completely respectful of the original text and at the same time having fun with it.

I've never read Krauss and am not sure how I feel about your mention of her here -- because, and I admit this is totally petty of me, I actually knew Nicole Krauss as a child and she was beastly to me. Granted, this was when we were 11, and I'm sure she's a decent person now. But something about this person who bullied me terribly 20 years ago now having all this success and acclaim in what is also my chosen profession -- somehow I'd hoped my childhood nemeses would just disappear and I'd never have to think about them again, and instead she shows up in the New Yorker. Karma has let me down. (Like I said, I'm petty.)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: books!!bop_radar on June 14th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
Oh, yay, another Zadie reader! And a Forster fan! I love his writing as well, though I am most familiar with A Passage to India--I've reread it six or so times. And yes, I sooo know what you mean about worrying when someone adapts or references a classic masterpiece. So often, it IS snotty or blasphemous or unnecessary! (I'm reading March with my book club at the moment, and I'm feeling that the 'unnecessary' label could easily be applied there, even though it is well written.)

I've never read Krauss and am not sure how I feel about your mention of her here -- because, and I admit this is totally petty of me, I actually knew Nicole Krauss as a child and she was beastly to me.
Thanks for your honesty! That gave me a real giggle, too, I must confess, because I've read a bit about her as a person and frankly she comes across as a real prat! (Whereas Zadie is completely endearing to me.) However, I was being diplomatic in listing her, as I honestly did think that The History of Love was original and very well written--she sets a high standard, though if you'd been present at my book club meeting on THAT book, you would have heard me describe it's (her) limitations too, though most of my gang just loved it.

I'd hoped my childhood nemeses would just disappear and I'd never have to think about them again, and instead she shows up in the New Yorker
NIGHTMARE! Seriously. *shudders* My sympathy! Woah!

Ali Smith, Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters were all up there as well though. I haven't read all their works but I gather they made for some stiff competition.