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Rose Tremain Wins 2008 Orange Prize

abstract:Rose Tremain has twice been a Booker Prize judge and this year she wins the prestigious Orange Prize for her tenth novel, The Road Home: A Novel (Chatto and Windus 2007) The story is about an Eastern Eurpean migrant worker who travels to London for employment that can support his family. He discovers London is awash with money, celebrity and complacency. The contrast underscores the new East-West economic dichotomy that exists between disparate EU countries resulting in the flow of population to Western urban centers who must then grapple with a cultural divide.


June 21, 2008
Rose Tremain is quoted at as saying, "I deliberately seek out the strange, the unfamiliar, even the unknowable, as subjects for my novels and trust my imagination to illuminate them to the point where both I and the reader can see them with a new clarity. The writers I admire most seem to have this kind of goal: to comprehend experience distant from their own, in nature, place and time, and to let the extraordinary cast new light on the quotidian."

Tremain was born in London in 1948 and educated at the Sorbonne and East Anglia where she has taught and it is also the village where she now resides with her third husband, biographer Richard Holms. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have won many prizes, including the Whitbread Novel of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Prix Femina Etranger, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Angel Literary Awards and the Sunday Express Book of the Year. Three of her novels are currently in development as films. If you are interested in writing historic fiction, this is an author you should study.

A photo of her writing room shows a rather bright and cheery space decorated with elaborate bird wallpaper, rich colors and a lovely wooded landscape to look out into through her picture window. Rose says, "It's perfect for gazing out into space for endless periods, as writers are apt to do, which nonwriters can never understand.

The Orange Prize is awarded to the best full length original novel written in the year by female writer anywhere in the world. It was devised when a long spate of males continued to win the Booker Prize and other prestigious literary awards, despite the talent seen in the fairer sex's published novels competing together. One of this year's judges, Lang said the trends that had emerged from her reading of the 120 submissions for the prize were, "over and over again, immigration and identity and, alongside that, loss and bereavement. And these themes are connected. In an age of globalisation and migration these are the questions that we grapple with."

You can listen to the shortlisted authors reading their works here.

Previous winners have been:

1996: Helen Dunmore - A Spell of Winter
1997: Anne Michaels - Fugitive Pieces
1998: Carol Shields - Larry's Party
1999: Suzanne Berne - A Crime in the Neighborhood
2000: Linda Grant - When I Lived in Modern Times
2001: Kate Grenville - The Idea of Perfection
2002: Ann Patchett - Bel Canto
2003: Valerie Martin - Property
2004: Andrea Levy - Small Island
2005: Lionel Shriver - We Need to Talk About Kevin
2006: Zadie Smith - On Beauty
2007: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun



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