And The Winner Is…

This year’s Orange Prize has gone to Lionel Shriver for We Need To Talk About Kevin. The Scotsman has a report, calling the novel controversial. (It’s about a career woman who has a child but then decides she doesn’t love it.)

Shriver’s heroine, Eva, comes to loathe her son, Kevin, who grows up to be a spiteful and cruel little boy.

She blames him both for the loss of her career and the souring of her previously perfect marriage.

Shortly before his 16th birthday Kevin murders nine people in a Columbine-style high school massacre.

The novel takes the form of letters from Eva to her estranged husband in which she examines whether her lack of maternal love turned her son into a killer.

Shriver gets to take home the 30,000 prize. I didn’t realize it was that much money. Sheesh. The Independent has its own report, in which the journalist compares the book to Vernon God Little. Says Shriver, “School-shooting books wasn’t a genre when I started it.”

Ms Shriver, whose book had been rejected by 30 British publishers before being accepted by the small independent Serpent’s Tail, said she was overwhelmed.

Producing notes that she said were marked “acceptance speech for Orange Prize, potentially humiliating in retrospect,” she said the last prize she had won was an architectural commentary on her school cafeteria when she was seven years old. “That’s not just a joke, from which you may infer that I have had a number of very lean and hard years.”