Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” and Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Lacuna” have been selected as two of six finalists in the Orange Prize for Fiction, whose winner takes home 30,000 pounds ($46,100) and a bronze statuette called the Bessie.
Established in 1996 to celebrate fiction by women worldwide, the annual Orange Prize has courted controversy by excluding male authors. This year’s shortlist offers an unusual mix of books written in a range of genres by both established and debut novelists, including three Americans.
“With a thriller, historical novels that reflect our world back to us, as well as a tragicomedy about post 9/11 America, there is something here to challenge, amuse and enthrall every kind of reader,” the chair of the judging panel, author and television producer Daisy Goodwin, said in an e-mailed statement.
Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” (Fourth Estate), which has already won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and a National Book Critics Circle award, traces the ascent of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s fixer. Kingsolver’s “The Lacuna” (Faber) tells the story of a man torn between two nations, Mexico and the U.S., in the middle of the 20th century.
The other finalists are Rosie Alison for “The Very Thought of You” (Alma); Attica Locke for “Black Water Rising” (Serpent’s Tail); Lorrie Moore for “A Gate at the Stairs” (Faber); and Monique Roffey for “The White Woman on the Green Bicycle” (Simon and Schuster).
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in the Royal Festival Hall at London’s Southbank Centre on June 9.