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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 14:53 GMT
Author Ali on women's prize list
Monica Ali
Monica Ali's Brick Lane was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Margaret Atwood, Monica Ali and Toni Morrison are among the authors who have made the longlist of this year's Orange Prize for Fiction.

Zoe Heller, who made last year's Booker shortlist, and South African writer Gillian Slovo are also included in the group of 20 female novelists.

The women-only 30,000 prize was set up nine years ago to promote and celebrate women's writing.

The shortlist will be announced on 27 April followed by the winner on 8 June.


Sandi Toksvig, chair of the judges, said the wide variety of writers on the list were "banging the drum for the glory of the English language".

"I'm sure the judges weren't meant to have this much fun," she added.

Valerie Martin
US author Valerie Martin won the Orange Prize last year
The longlist features a mixture of new and experienced writers. There are six debut novelists on the list - Monica Ali, Rupa Bajwa, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dinah Lee Kung, Joan London, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Audrey Niffenegger.

And six authors have been on the longlist before - Margaret Atwood, Maggie Gee, Stevie Davies, Toni Morrison, Andrea Levy and Anne Tyler.

Ali and Atwood were also shortlisted alongside Heller for the 2003 Booker Prize.

The other writers who made the Orange longlist are Stella Duffy, Shirley Hazzard, Sarah May, Sarah Hall, and Rose Tremain.

New talent

The Orange Prize for Fiction is open to any woman writing in English, regardless of their nationality or country of residence.

The organisers have also announced a new prize to begin next year - the Orange Award for New Writers.

Kate Mosse, co-founder and honorary director of the Orange Prize, said: "We hope that this exciting new award, to run alongside the main prize, will help promote and celebrate the work of novelists and short story writers at the beginning of their careers."

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