Guessing The Orange Prize Longlist 2010

I do like a good guessing game, I can almost guarantee I will always be pretty much wrong but I still like to have a go anyway. The last bookish year saw me trying and failing (though I did better than the previous year) to guess the Man Booker Longlist (I did guess the winner though) and the winner of the Orange Longlist both of which I got wrong. It is my dream to one day be on a book prize panel of some sort and as it will never be the Orange I thought I would list you what I would put forward before the actual 20 are announced tomorrow. I haven’t read them all but really want to, all bar two I haven’t read are on my TBR.

It was quite hard choosing though as the books can’t be translated, have to have been published in the UK between the 1st April 2009 and 31st March 2010 (one book in my list is due out on both the 31st of March and 1st of April depending where you look so it may not make it, I went under the assumption that the 31st was correct) and all must be novels, no novellas. 

I have popped them all alphabetically in order of author surname so as you can’t guess my favourites…


Ms. Hempel Chronicles – Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton
War on the Margins – Libby Cone
Isa and May – Margaret Forster


How To Paint A Dead Man – Sarah Hall
Blueeyedboy – Joanne Harris
Dog Boy – Eva Hornung
Small Wars – Sadie Jones


The Long Song – Andrea Levy
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
The Confessions of Edward Day – Valerie Martin
A Gate At The Stairs – Lorrie Moore


White is for Witching – Helen Oyeyemi
Where The Serpent Lives – Ruth Padel
The Boy Next Door – Irene Sabatini
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson


The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Trespass – Rose Tremain
Dancing Backwards – Salley Vickers
After The Fire, A Still Small Voice – Evie Wyld

I will say another two titles were fighting for a place in the top twenty and they were ‘Black Mamba Boy’ by Nadifa Mohamed and ‘The Rapture’ by Liz Jensen so if the judges pick either of these then I will be kicking myself. I also originally had ‘A Beginners Guide To Acting English’ by Shappi Khorsandi not realising it was a memoir (have now seen the very tiny word on the back of the book, thank you Justine! You see it started off being quite tough and then I kept thinking of ‘just one more’ several times.

You might notice some big contenders of last year are missing from my list, titles such as Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood’, Sarah Water’s ‘The Little Stranger’, Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ and A. S. Byatt’s ‘The Children’s Book’ (though I don’t think she allows hers to be put forward) all four of which I read last year and thought were very good I just think they have had enough publicity already. You could say the same for Wolf Hall but I adored it more than very much liking it so it made my selection. It wouldn’t be a shock or a scandal to see any of those on the list though. 

So will I be anywhere near right? Quite unlikely, would be hilarious if I was though. What about all of you, what do you think might be seen on the Longlist this year? I am not planning on intentionally reading whatever the final twenty or even the short listed titles are, is anyone else?

Note: This was a post I scheduled the other week and I didn’t realise Jackie was doing one too which you can see over at Farmlanebooks if you havent already. Let me know if any more of you are doing this!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Orange Prize

37 responses to “Guessing The Orange Prize Longlist 2010

  1. I went over to Farmlane books as well and have compared your two lists! Just a day to go to see how it pans out. What I really like is the two lists and that is what I am taking note of. Thanks

    • Yes we will see, I think its going to be an interesting list this year, well I am hoping that it is and I am definitely not expecting to have guessed any of them correctly, especially as I have cut out some of the leading contenders.

  2. Great list – but I must make one amendment, if I may – Shappi Khorsandi’s book is actually a memoir, not a novel. I’ve read it, and while it does read like a novel (and it seems the publisher is skewing it that way), it’s actually all true, which makes the story even more remarkable. I guess this makes it ineligible for the Orange Prize, but it’s very well worth reading in any case.

    Here’s a link to an interview Shappi Khorsandi did with the Scotsman, in case you’re interested…

    • Thanks Justine, I had missed that little word ‘memoir’ next to the barcode, shame on me. It is definitely being made to look like a novel. I still want to read it though and have it on the TBR so its quite possible I will get to it eventually. It has meant I can now pop Helen Simonson on my long list which I wanted to but it was fighting against so many wonderful or wonderful sounding books.

      • No worries! It’s definitely packaged very much like a novel. But it’s very good – I think Shappi Khorsandi is incredibly sharp and witty yet warm, I love hearing her on the radio.

        I haven’t read many others on your list, but I have read The Rehearsal, which I’m really in two minds about, I found it compulsive reading but I’m not sure that I quite understood it. Perhaps I should reread, but I didn’t like it that much.

        A Gate at the Stairs is wonderful…

      • I have always wanted to read Lorrie Moore and think that being as shes always been the queen of short stories it will be interesting to see how this one fairs (I have heard a wicked rumour its on its way to Savidge Towers). I started the Rehearsal and couldnt get into it, wanted to try again as liked the premise and the writing (but sad events got in the way) and someone else ordered my copy in at the library… selfish!

  3. I’m not that up-to-date with newly published books. But I do have an ongoing project of trying to read as many Orange longlisted books as I can, or as many of them that interest me.

    But I love your list. Some titles have really grabbed me, so regardless of whether they make the Orange list tomorrow, I’m guessing I’ll be reading some of the titles from “Simon’s Orange Longlist”. =)

    • I am not too upto date, I mainly went for a wander through my TBR list and any books that I had read or been eager to read over the last yearish and went from there. I am sure my list will be nothing like the longlist.

      I like the idea of reading the Savidge Orange Longlist, I almost wanted to put myself up to the challenge and then remembered I am not doing challenges this year!

  4. farmlanebooks

    Interesting list! We only have 7 books which overlap, so we have come up with a very different selection. It will be good to see who gets closer. I’m not planning to read the whole long list, but will read the short list and any of the long list ones that grab my attention. I’m really looking forward to the big reveal tomorrow.

    • I wonder if those seven will be the ones that definitely make it hahaha? I will flatter us both by saying that they will.

      I think for me longlists (and maybe even short lists) are off the reading menu this year. If I like the selection and have them then I might but I put too much pressure on myself with reading both Orange and Man Booker books they kind of both became more of a chore.

      Less with this prize than with the Man Booker I do also wonder if too many hardback reviews alienates people? After all most people don’t really buy them and wait for the paperback.

      I am excited about the big reveal tomorrow to regardless of reading them, I hope they do it early rather than at 5pm making us all wait hee hee.

      • farmlanebooks

        I’m hoping that I’ll have read most of the short list already. I do try not to read too many hardback books each month, as I agree that it does put people off. Hopefully my prediction skills for the Orange and the Booker will mean that I can spread the reads out over the whole year and so avoid that mad rush to read lots of books that we had last year.

      • Hope that you don’t mind my chiming in here – I do buy hardbacks – mostly because I don’t like waiting for the paperback, although they may then sit on my shelf waiting to be read well past the paperback pub date. However, I think I would have bought the hardback of The Long Song even if I didn’t really buy hardbacks – it’s so beautifully designed and produced that I could resist it. The yellow and bronze cover is so beautiful, and I love the light-blue endpapers.

      • Jackie I think it will be intereseting this year as I have honed what I do and don’t like so much more in terms of reading. I think Amis will be on the Booker longlist but just dont want to read him (well if it fell in my lap I am sure I would give it a whirl – you know what I mean) and thats fine. The pressure is off yet I do think though I may, though who knows, read some of the longlisters before they have been erm long listed, probably just by chance.

      • Justine I didnt mean people don’t full stop (and frankly with the way covers go downhill from hardback to paperback it amazes me more dont) its just not quite as likely, the sales difference between the two are huge.

      • Oh no, I didn’t think that was what you meant! I guess I was trying to say that I love the cover of the Long Song so much! that’s all… 🙂

  5. Great list, Simon! I am so glad to see White is for Witching on it as I started reading it last night and think it is brilliant so far; I was in bed at the time but first thing this morning I checked that it was eligible for prize and then put it as a guess on Jackie’s post.

    I think Wyld, Catton, Mantel , Hall and Levy will all feature and I think Sarah Waters and Margaret Atwood will too (Niffenegger won’t, I think). I hope they’re won’t be a lot of the big names so I can discover some new books but I can’t see them ignoring Waters and Atwood at any stretch of the imagination.

    Now that you have also picked up on my guesses for Catton and Oyeyemi, my other rogue guesses are The Tin-Kin by Eleanor Thom and Book of Clouds by Chloe Aridjis.

    I *may* read the shortlist and any others that catch my eye but I am trying to read more on a whim this year. The advantage of the names that keep cropping up are that many of them are already available in paperback so I don’t think they will be that alienating to our readers.

    • Thank you Claire, I did it over the weekend before last and then made some amendments, well the Shappi one, this morning. I have a few on there I want desperately to read regardless of whether they make it on the list or not and its a lot of the lesser known ones.

      I do think its nice to have the big names on there and as I said I wont mind or be shocked if they are, I would just push more books that people might not have heard of and might take a chance with, we will see.

  6. Great list and very interesting to compare against Jackie’s. Reminds me though how much reading I have to do – I’ve read none of these!

  7. Wow, I am so behind with modern literature, I wouldn’t have been able to think of any at all. I look forward to seeing which ones you’ve got right!

  8. I just made my own post anticipating the Orange this morning, and can’t believe how many I didn’t think of! Thanks for reminding me of them.

    I think it’s interesting you’re not sure about Sarah Waters for the longlist. I just made my prediction that this would be her year. If she doesn’t even make the first cut I could be very wrong indeed. 🙂

    • I popped by and left a comment Victoria.

      Its not that I am not sure about Sarah Waters as she is a fabulous writer I just wasnt sure about that book, it has grown on me a lot since I read it though to be fair. I woudl give it 3.9/5 now.

  9. Some interesting choices – I’d certainly pick some of the ones you have there (mantel, Levy, Simonson, Forster, Tremain), bit you’ve also got a number on your list which I haven’t really come across. I love the orange prize because it always introduces me to new authors so I can’ t wait to see who is on it!

    • I am hoping that there are quite a few suprise unknowns on the list as there seems to be each year. I have to say its making me incredibly grumpy that some people out there know already… ooooh how cross patch making.

  10. JoV

    I am continuously amazed at how many book titles you can come up with. You create such a bookish lust in me that I feel I would explode if I don’t get my hands on those books!

    • Hahaha I like the fact I can create a bookish lust in people, sadly I can’t seem to do that with my betrothed… I am trying to get a love of books engrained in the brain but I am not have much luck. Its two steos forwards three steps back at the mo.

      I do like the idea of people exploding with desperation over books though hee hee.

  11. gaskella

    I’ve actually read two of your picks, Hall & Oyeyemi, and have 5 others in my TBR pile. The Sally Vickers which I bought today is the one I want to read first naturellement! It’s interesting to see how different your list is to Jackie’s. I couldn’t have come up with ten let alone twenty…

    • Neither of those got on am not impressed hahaha. I actually quite like the list in variety terms. I do think that Oyeyemi not being on there is almost as disappointing as Wyld. I will be reading the Oyeyemi anyway.

  12. Thank you for your list. I now have several new books to order.

  13. Pingback: The Actual Orange Prize Longlist 2010 « Savidge Reads

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