Our own Anne Enright is on the shortlist for the Orange Prize for her novel The Forgotten Waltz. She talked about it on Arena on Tuesday night and she was her usual wry, honest self. She is touring the book in the USA at the moment and she spoke about the difference between American and Irish audiences:
She said of the Orange shortlisting: 'It’s a lovely validation and a great fillip for the book. Publishing is very nervous at the moment; literary fiction is on the back foot and anything that stirs the mix again and gets books out there into the public arena is good by me.' Hear hear.
Seán asked about her thoughts on the Orange being a women-only prize. Anne said, quite rightly: 'Statistics show that women’s writing is under-represented in the important media. The Orange Prize redresses the balance.' She cited Vida which measures the reviews/exposure in the media of women’s writing and said that the statistics speak for themselves. I love when a writer I admire gets involved in this debate.
She also said, with reference to the shortlist, which features three American writers (Patchett, Miller and Ozick): ‘American’s women fiction is so strikingly good.’ I feel that too, particularly about short story writers: a few that immediately spring to mind are Amy Bloom, Caitlin Horrocks, ZZ Packer and Valerie Trueblood.