8 Jun 2011

Tea Obreht wins Orange Prize for Fiction 2011

Téa Obreht becomes the youngest winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011 after the 25-year-old’s Serbian/American author’s debut novel The Tiger’s Wife scooped the top award for women writers.

Téa Obreht is the winner of this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction for her book The Tiger’s Wife, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

The award, in its 16th year, celebrates the best in fiction by female writers from around the world.

In the winning book a tiger escapes from a zoo and runs free above a Balkan village. The animal’s nocturnal visits terrify local people but for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic. Many years later a doctor, Natalie, working in a country now torn apart by war is visiting an orphanage when she learns of her grandfather’s death.

As she tries to come to terms with her loss, she recalls fragments of the stories he told her as a child. She then stumbles upon a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.

Culture blog: Sexism debate still dominates Orange Prize for Fiction

Born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Belgrade, Téa Obreht moved to the US in 1997. After graduating from the University of Southern California, she received an MFA in Fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University in 2009.

Téa was featured in The New Yorker’s Top 20 Writers under 40 issue in June 2010 and at 24, was the youngest on the list.

Her short story, The Laugh, debuted in The Atlantic fiction issue and was then chosen for The Best American Short Stories 2010. A further short story, The Sentry, featured in the Guardian Summer Fiction Issue. Her journalism has appeared in Harper’s magazine and she lives in Ithaca, New York.

Your Facebook.com/Channel4News comments:
David Andrew Cowan: To be honest I don't think anyone particularly cares outside of the media/literary world about this prize.
Mary Fitzpatrick: I read books written by men and women. What matters is whether it interests me and is well written with a good plot.
Andy Felipe: The name doesn't make much difference. I read books by Antonia Fraser, Alison Weir & Naomi Klein. If it's good I'll read it regardless of gender. Having said that, the simple fact is that women tend to write on subjects of interest to women and vice versa, so it's natural that men will tend to read books written by men.
Ruby Kay: Yes we do still need this award - women need all the praise they can get in this 'male' dominated world!!
John Nicholson: I cant read women as they are a complete mystery to me