Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

New novelist up for fiction prize

Gaynor Arnold and the front cover of Girl In A Blue Dress
Gaynor Arnold works for Birmingham's Adoption and Fostering Service

A first-time novelist is among the longlisted candidates for this year's Orange Prize for Fiction.

Social worker Gaynor Arnold, 63, was nominated for Girl In A Blue Dress, which is a fictional account of the life of Charles Dickens' wife.

She is joined on the list by Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison, whose ninth novel, A Mercy, was also nominated.

The prize awards female writers. A shortlist will be announced in April.

'Quality and simple'

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 3 June, where the prize of 30,000 will be presented.

Broadcaster Fi Glover, who chairs the panel of judges, said: "All the books on the longlist are there because each one, in its own way, is terrific in its ambition, quality and simple ability to entertain.

"We had a fabulous, if difficult, time narrowing the list down to 20 novels - and it's a wide open field."

This year's longlist includes a record nine authors from the US, six debut novels and, for the first time, a work by a Malaysian writer.

Last year author Rose Tremain was named the winner for her tenth novel, The Road Home.

The longlist in full:

  • The Household Guide to Dying - Debra Adelaide
  • Girl in a Blue Dress - Gaynor Arnold
  • Their Finest Hour and a Half - Lissa Evans
  • Blonde Roots - Bernadine Evaristo
  • Scottsboro - Ellen Feldman
  • Strange Music - Laura Fish
  • Love Marriage - V V Ganeshananthan
  • Intuition - Allegra Goodman
  • The Wilderness - Samantha Harvey
  • The Invention of Everything Else - Samantha Hunt
  • The Lost Dog - Michelle de Kretser
  • Molly Fox's Birthday - Deirdre Madden
  • A Mercy - Toni Morrison
  • The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight - Gina Ochsner
  • Home - Marilynne Robinson
  • Evening is The Whole Day - Preeta Samarasan
  • Burnt Shadows - Kamila Shamsie
  • American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld
  • The Flying Troutmans - Miriam Toews
  • The Personal History of Rachel DuPree - Ann Weisgarber

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