Kingsolver scoops Orange prize for Faber
09.06.10 | Katie Allen

A Faber title has won the Orange Prize for Fiction for the first time with Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna this evening (9th June) taking home the £30,000 prize.

Sceptre author Irene Sabatini was awarded the £10,000 Orange Prize for New Writers award for her novel The Boy Next Door. The prize celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Jonathan Ruppin at Foyles said “We’ve found this by far the bestselling title on the shortlist. It’s a daunting read, which fans of her hugely popular previous novel, The Poisonwood Bible, won’t all take to, but it’s a book which rewards patient reading.

“It would be good to see more British writers and more women coming up with fiction as ambitious as this.”

Although this is the first win for Faber, indies have taken the prize before, with We Need to Talk About Kevin (Serpent’s Tail), Fugitive Pieces (Bloomsbury) and When I Lived In Uncertain Times (Granta) winning in 2005, 1997 and 200 respectively.

According to Nielsen BookScan figures across all editions since records began in 1998, Kingsolver, who has never made the UK’s Top Fifty chart, has life sales of 31,578 to date for this latest novel.

However it is Man Booker-winner and Orange shortlistee Wolf Hall which has eclipsed this year’s shortlist sales, racking up sales of 433,992, or average weekly sales (AWS) of 7,483. Of the six shortlisted titles, Kingsolver’s novel comes in next with 987 AWS, and The Very Thought of You with 518.

Top seller of all the winners over the past 15 years, Andrea Levy’s Small Island has scored sales of 834,958.

The next biggest-selling winner, Shriver’s Kevin has racked up sales of 645,373, and was voted the most popular Orange winner by Waterstone’s customers. The author courted controversy this week for criticising the proliferation of Orange spin-offs as “dumb”.

Analysis of BookScan figures has also determined that the million-selling Life of Pi is the only Man Booker-winner to sell more copies than any of the Orange Prize winners.

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