Lionel Shriver wins ‘dumb’ Orange winners’ prize after public vote
09.06.10 | Katie Allen

Lionel Shriver’s 2005 novel We Need to Talk About Kevin has received the public vote as the most popular previous Orange Prize winner. Waterstone’s held the vote to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the prize, which is awarded tonight (9th June).

In the press statement Shriver said: “OK, it’s official. ‘Kevin’ no longer belongs to me, but to you lot. While I am abashed at this honour, Kevin himself is smugly self-satisfied. Think of all the attention that one school mass-murder has earned that guy.” Shriver’s title about a schoolboy murderer won 26% of the vote, with 20% going to the second-place title, Small Island by Andrea Levy.

Waterstone’s fiction buyer Janine Cook added: “Not only does the Orange Prize choose great winners, the books it chooses last in the eyes of readers – We Need to Talk About Kevin still sells many thousands of copies a year at Waterstone’s. It’s a provocative, intense novel that never fails to elicit a reaction from a reader – it’s a book that will last a long, long time.”

Shriver offers a different analysis of the latest spin-off to the main Orange prize to the Independent, describing the prizes as “dumb”: “I’m critical of the Orange people on this front. The more prizes you give, the more meaningless they become. It’s a stupid thing to have more than one winner; it’s deluding and it means nobody wins.”

Kevin was re-released by Serpent’s Tail as part of its new Classics list in May; the title has sold over 640,000 copies since publication in 2005. BBC Films is also adapting the novel, with Tilda Winton and John C Reilly in starring roles.

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