Zadie Smith Wins on Her Third Bite at the Orange

Daily Mail (London), June 7, 2006 | Go to article overview

Zadie Smith Wins on Her Third Bite at the Orange


CONTROVERSIAL novelist Zadie Smith was last night awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction.

The 30-year-old author picked up the [pounds sterling]30,000 prize for her novel On Beauty, which was inspired by EM Forster's Howard's End.

It was third time lucky for the writer, who was nominated for the accolade for both her first and second novels, but failed to win on both occasions.

On Beauty was also nominated for the coveted Man Booker Prize, but Miss Smith was beaten by the Irish novelist John Banville.

Miss Smith used the Booker nomination to launch an extraordinary tirade against Britain and caused controversy by attacking admirers for focusing on her appearance.

But her outspoken approach may have endeared her to the panel of the woman-only Orange Prize. During the same interview, with New York magazine, she said: 'I think if you're a woman your looks are an essential part of you because the world makes them so. It's incredibly insulting and absurd.' The chairman of the judges, Women's Hour presenter Martha Kearney, handed over the prize and a bronze figurine before praising the young author for her 'literary tour de force'.

She said: 'This is a book which combines extraordinary characterisation with skilful and seemingly effortless plotting. …

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