Congratulations to Madeline Miller and all our Bloomsbury colleagues for their success at the Orange Prize 2012 last night! Madeline won the coveted prize for her fantastic debut novel The Song of Achilles – a gripping and touching love story between exiled princeling Patroclus and Achilles, strong, beautiful and the son of a goddess.
The novelist Joanna Trollope, chair of this year's judging panel, said of the novel that "It was in some ways a surprise to us.. But it fulfils [the award's] criteria of inventiveness and originality. For my generation this might be a familiar story but I don't think it is so familiar for a lot of younger readers. Miller handles it with extraordinary lightness – and it is fresh." You can watch Joanna announcing the winner here.
Miller is the 4th consecutive US novelist to win the prize, beating bookies' favourite Foreign Bodies by 84-year-old Cynthia Ozick, State of Wonder by former Orange winner Ann Patchett, The Forgotten Waltz by Man Booker winner Anne Enright, Esi Edugyan's Booker-shortlisted Half Blood Blues and British novelist Georgina Harding's highly praised novel of postwar Romania, Painter of Silence. Congratulations to all the authors shortlisted – 2 of whom are also Bloomsbury authors.
Having read The Song of Achilles, and attended the Orange Prize readings on Tuesday night, I can definitely say that Madeline is a deserved winner! You can read an extract from her brilliant book here.
And here is a picture of the delighted Madeline Miller – appropriately dressed in an orange dress (on loan from Ann Patchett believe it or not!) - with Editor-in-Chief at Bloomsbury Alexandra Pringle!