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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Orange Prize denies Dahl reports
Sophie Dahl
Dahl is reported to be a fan of literature
The organisers of the Orange Prize for Fiction have denied reports that model Sophie Dahl has been approached to sit on next year's judging panel.

According to a press report, the granddaughter of author Roald Dahl had been invited to be one of the five judges for the 2003 prize because of her interest in literature.

However, organisers have dismissed this as speculation, adding the judging panel for next year's prize will not be announced for two months.

The Orange Prize for Fiction, an award for female writers, was set up by women who felt that they were losing out on such prestigious book awards as the Whitbread and the Booker Prize.

It is judged by an all-female panel, with previous judges including William Hague's wife Ffion, journalist Kate Adie and Sue McGregor, former presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall is a former judge of the Whitbread Prize

The first ever Orange prize, awarded in January 1996, went to author Helen Dunmore for her book A Spell Of Winter. This year's award was given to Bel Canto by American author Ann Patchett.

Other previous winners have included Linda Grant and Kate Grenville, with such prestigious novelists as Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and Zadie Smith making past shortlists.

If Dahl is chosen as a judge, she will follow in the footsteps of celebrities like Jerry Hall, who was a judge for the Whitbread prize three years ago.

The Booker Prize has also approached celebrities to sit on the judging panel in the past, with previous judges including actress Joanna Lumley and TV presenter Mariella Frostrup.

See also:

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