Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 10:48 UK

Author chases Orange prize double

Ann Weisgarber and book jacket
Weisgarber worked in a psychiatric hospital before becoming a writer

American novelist Ann Weisgarber has moved towards an Orange prize double after making the shortlist for the new writers award.

Her novel, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, will compete with works by Francesca Kay and Nami Mun for the £10,000 prize for debut fiction.

Weisgarber is already on this year's Orange prize longlist for her tale of a black family in rural America in 1917.

Winners of both the awards for female writers will be announced on 3 June.

"Extraordinary" works

Only two writers have previously been nominated to both shortlists since the new writers' prize began in 2005.

However neither Lauren Liebenberg, with The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam, nor Clare Allen's Poppy Shakespeare, were able to clinch an award.

The chair of judges, Mishal Husain, said drawing up the shortlist this year was an "excruciating process" and emphasized the diversity of the three "extraordinary" works chosen.

British author Francesca Kay's novel, An Equal Stillness, deals with friction in a marriage between two artists after World War II.

Korean American writer Nami Mun looks at the life of a young Korean immigrant to New York in the 1980s in her work, Miles from Nowhere.

The judges also picked out two writers for commendations saying they looked forward to further works from Tania Hershman and CE Morgan.

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