Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Martha Lane Fox: Why I helped save the Orange Prize for Fiction
The Orange Prize for Fiction is a celebration of women's writing, not a
moan, that champions hidden talent and inspires everyone to get stuck into a
book, writes Martha Lane Fox.
Martha Lane Fox is one of the
backers of the newly-named Women's Prize for
By Martha Lane Fox
The Telegraph - 09 Oct 2012
In 2009 I was asked to be one of the Orange Prize for Fiction judges. I loved
Although my boyfriend groaned every time I opened another book, I revelled in
it. As I charged through the 30 or so books I was sent over in a large box
around Christmas, I entered worlds as diverse as 1930s New York, to the
Cotswolds in the 1980s, to Japan in the future. It was an incredible treat and a
privilege. Marilynne Robinson won for her novel
Home and meeting her at the ceremony was one of the
highlights of the whole experience.
I was delighted when the prize's co-founder, Kate Mosse, asked me if I would
like to join the board that had set up the prize and I couldn't say 'yes' fast
It is the largest-selling book prize in the world and the only one that is
entirely devoted to women. It is a celebration, not a moan. It is to inspire
more reading among both genders and to show the fabulous breadth of talent out
The prize has become very important in driving a diverse range of book sales
as well as championing the talent that might be hidden in some far corner of the
The prize has never complained about the gender balance within the literary
prize world, instead it has sought to address it. Fourteen out of 45 Booker
Prize winners have been women and yet women are 65 per cent of fiction writers.
I am a feminist and I love reading so this strikes me as a strange fact when
there are so many talented women out there.