Orange Prize sexist?

Times online

The all-women Orange literature prize is still needed, despite women winning prizes in fair competition with men, the organisers have said.

The Orange prize longlist, published yesterday, includes Anne Enright’s The Gathering, which won the unisex Booker a few weeks ago. In the past two years, women have won both the Booker and Costa literary awards.

The novelist A. S. Byatt told The Times that the Orange was a sexist prize, saying that she was so critical of what it stands for that she forbids her publishers to submit her novels for consideration. “Such a prize was never needed,” she said, noting that many works of literature were by women.

John Sutherland, the academic, said that ghettoising women writers did them more harm them good. Anita Brookner, a Booker winner, has dismissed positive discrimination and is also believed to have declined having her novels entered for the Orange.

Harriet Hastings, project director of the Orange prize, shrugged off the criticisms, maintaining that it was international and had no need to justify its existence: “Although major prizes have been won by women, the value of the Orange is as a celebration of women’s fiction.”


Kirsty Lang, chairman of this year’s panel, denied yesterday that the Orange was positive discrimination, saying that most readers are women, and prizes are to attract readers. (via)

If you know me I have strong opinions about the policies of the Nobel committee and have been known to scream at people who decry political aspects of that award (both attacking Jelinek’s and Lessings’s awards as being politically correct awards that should belong to MEN such as John Updike (*retch*) or Philip Roth.). But an award just for women? I dunno.

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