County Antrim native Deirdre Madden has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain’s prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman, ahead of Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison’s 17th century slave trade novel, “A Mercy.”
The 2009 shortlist, which includes three American writers, one debut British novelist and the previously longlisted Madden, was announced on April 21.
The American writers include: Ellen Feldman for “Scottsboro” (Picador), Samantha Hunt for “The Invention of Everything Else”(Vintage) and Marilynne Robinson for “Home” (Virago).
Samantha Harvey is the one debut novelist shortlisted, for “The Wilderness” (Cape), while Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie has been shortlisted for “Burnt Shadows” (Bloomsbury).
Trinity College professor Madden rounds out the list with her seventh book, “Molly Fox's Birthday” (Faber). The novel, set in Dublin, follows a playwright struggling to write a new work while living in her actor-friend Molly Fox’s house.
Madden is the only writer on this year’s list to have previously been recognized for the prize. Her novel “One by One in the Darkness” was longlisted in 1997.
The Orange Prize, established in 1996, celebrates and promotes women’s fiction writing throughout the world and is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman.
The winner receives £30,000 ($43,590) and a limited edition bronze figurine called the “Bessie.”
The award ceremony will take place in London on June 3.