Prosecuted author longlisted for Orange prize

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A writer whose novel put her on trial for “insulting Turkishness” has been longlisted for a prestigious British fiction prize.

File photo shows novelist Elif Shafak in an interview with Reuters Television in her house in Buyukada, off Istanbul, September 22, 2006. Shafak, author of the bestselling "The Bastard of Istanbul" was one of 20 writers longlisted on Tuesday for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Elif Shafak, author of the bestselling “The Bastard of Istanbul” was one of 20 writers longlisted on Tuesday for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction.

Shafak was prosecuted in Turkey over comments made by characters in her book about the 1915-16 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks. She was acquitted in 2006 by an Istanbul court.

Turkey and Armenia are at loggerheads over Ankara’s refusal to acknowledge the killings as genocide.

The book tells the interweaving stories of a Turkish and an Armenian family in the United States and Istanbul.

Shafak, born in France of Turkish descent, was named as one of 20 writers longlisted for the Orange Prize, which is open to any female author writing in English.

The Orange Prize longlist includes seven debut novelists alongside veterans like Deborah Moggach, who is longlisted for her 16th novel, “In The Dark”.

It also features Anne Enright’s “The Gathering”, which won the Man Booker prize 2007.

Linda Grant, who previously won the Orange prize with “When I Lived In Modern Times”, is nominated again for her latest book, “The Clothes On Their Backs”.

The novel is one of several in this year’s longlist to deal with immigration.

First novelists include Carol Topolski, for “Monster Love”.

Another first novelist, Patricia Wood, is nominated for “Lottery”, which was inspired by her father winning the Washington State Lottery.

The winner of the 30,000 pound ($60,420) prize will be announced at a ceremony on June 4.

Recent previous winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith and Lionel Shriver.

Kirsty Lang, who chairs the judges’ panel, dismissed critics who refute the need for a female writers’ prize.

“The Orange has become a celebration of women’s literature,” said Young. “There are women’s books that women like more than men and it would be foolish to ignore that.”

The other judges are singer Lily Allen, novelist Philippa Gregory, novelist Bel Mooney, and Guardian Review editor Lisa Allardice.

Reporting by Astrid Zweynert; Editing by Jeremy Lovell and Paul Casciato