Debut author Téa Obreht has won the Orange Prize for Fiction for The Tiger’s Wife (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), beating Man Booker-shortlisted bookies’ favourite Room by Emma Donoghue (Picador).
Obreht, aged 25, is the youngest-ever author to win the £30,000 prize, which was awarded yesterday evening (8th June). The last debut to win was Suzanne Berne’s A Crime in the Neighbourhood (Penguin) in 1999 which has sold 49,189 copies to date, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Chair of judges, Bettany Hughes, said: "The Tiger's Wife is an exceptional book and Téa Obreht is a truly exciting new talent. Obreht's powers of observation and her understanding of the world are remarkable."
Foyles’ Jonathan Ruppin added "It's very rare to encounter a debut of such accomplishment. The commercial potential of this is huge.”
So far, however, The Tiger’s Wife is one of the lowest-selling on the shortlist. It has sold 6,410 copies since publication in March, 4,105 of those after the shortlist announcement.
Room, helped by its inclusion on C4’s "The TV Book Club" and Richard and Judy's WHS-exclusive Spring Book Club, has accounted for 70% of the shortlist's entire sales, selling 64,809 copies. It was announced by Amazon to be "one of the standout books of the past year” selling 470% more copies than its nearest rival, Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love (Bloomsbury), according to the retailer.
Sales of shortlistees since the list was announced in April have totalled 91,144 copies across all editions in the UK—about half the figure the 2010 selections clocked up over the same period. Last year's winner, Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna (Faber) has sold 192,000 copies to date.
Obreht was born in the former Yugoslavia in 1985, eventually emigrating to the United States in 1997. She now lives in Ithaca, New York. She was picked for the New Yorker’s "20 under 40” fiction issue, and The Tiger’s Wife was also chosen for Waterstone’s campaign for first-time novelists, the Waterstone’s 11.
The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction written by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible. At the ceremony, Bettany Whittle was named as the winner of the Orange/Grazia First Chapter Competition for unpublished writers.
Reporting on figures from the National Literacy Trust, The Daily Mailreported on the findings of researcher Christina Clark, who polled 18,171 eight to 17 year olds across 111 UK schools. The study found almost 40% of those aged eight to 17 live in homes with fewer than 10 books. However, 85% of those aged eight to 15 own a games console and 81% have a mobile phone. The Evening Standard also ran with this, andfocused on results from London, which revealed one in three children do not have a book of their own at home. The paper is publishing a week of articles focusing on illiteracy in the capital. 'The only book in our house is the Argos catalogue' one nine-year-old boy told a teacher as new report reveals one in three children in London doesn't own a single book.
Former Ofsted director Sir Jim Rose, author of several reports on literacy, says: "We are in serious trouble. We have entered the era of the Argos catalogue family, those with no books of their own at home. We need to do something urgently. It is a responsibility we cannot afford to shirk."
Three in ten children live in households that do not contain a single book, a poll has found.
The survey of more than 18,000 youths across the country has shown large numbers do not own any books or read on their own, fuelling slumping education standards.
This was coupled with the finding that children with no books are two-and-a-half times more likely to fall below the expected reading level for their age.
One teacher in the capital told how, when he asked his pupils to bring in a book from home to speak about with the rest of the class, a nine-year-old boy brought in the Argos catalogue.
'It's the only book my family have,' the youngster told his teacher.
The study also found almost 40 per cent of those aged eight to 17 live in homes with 10 or fewer books – although 85 per cent of those aged eight to 15 own a games console, and 81 per cent have a mobile phone.
The research, conducted by the National Literacy Trust, follows official statistics showing one in five children leaves primary school without reaching the expected level of progress in English.
The same proportion leaves school without an A* to C grade in both GCSE English and Maths.
Daily Mail article : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1392782/Boy-9-tells-teacher-The-book-house-Argos-catalogue.html#ixzz1O70qiwnB