Last night, London’s Royal Festival Hall was awash with celebration and cheer as the winner of the coveted Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 was announced.
Champagne flowed as the roomful of authors, publishers, journalists and agents toasted first-time novelist, Madeline Miller, whose book ‘The Song of Achilles’ was crowned winner of the prestigious literary prize, now in it’s 17th and final year (for Orange anyway, a new sponsor is yet to be decided). American Madeline took to the stage, collecting a £30,000 cheque and bronze statuette known as ‘the Bessie.’ Her novel is, set during the Trojan War, was described by Chair of Judges Joanna Trollope as, ‘original, passionate and uplifting.’
As Latin teacher Madeline was applauded by crowds, she said, ‘I’m overwhelmed and so, so grateful.’
Co –founded by author Kate Mosse (Labyrinth, The Winter Ghosts) the annual Orange Prize for Fiction celebrates ‘excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing’ from female authors around the world. Multi-award winner Cynthia Ozick was favourite to win, but Joanna described Madeline as, ‘more than worthy.’
But Madeline wasn’t the only star last night. The crowd also praised the winner of Grazia Orange First Chapter Competition, Jennifer Cullen. Jennifer beat off a thousand other hopefuls who entered our amazing competition, which asked Grazia readers to write the first chapter of a novel, with the opening paragraph written by best-selling author of Sister, Rosamund Lupton. Orange kindly brought Jennifer and her sister over from Ireland to attend this glittering Orange Prize for Fiction ceremony. Grazia’s very own Jane Bruton took the to the stage to announce Jennifer’s triumph, calling her chapter to The Journey, ‘bold, innovative and original.’ In it, a woman returns to her hometown after a long stint away, where much has changed for her. Jennifer received a cheque for £1,000 and you can see it published in Grazia on 12 June. Who knows where her writing will be next year?
Grazia Orange First Chapter Competition Results
Winner: Jennifer Cullen
Runners up: Alexandra Jones and Luan Goldie
Shortlisted entries (in no particular order): Anna Hargreaves, Kirstin Zhang, Lydia Newhouse, Marianne Brown, Emma Elliott, Sarah Gleaves, Alexandra Clarke, Natalie Sutton, Sheena Bradley, Anna Katharina Schaffner and Elizabeth Barrett