Smith vs Smith: Battle rejoined, this time for the Orange Prize

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The Independent Culture

Ali Smith and Zadie Smith, who were both shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, are reprising their battle for literary honours after making the long-list for the Orange Prize for fiction.

They are joined by other established names including Joyce Carol Oates, Philippa Gregory and Helen Dunmore in the fight for this year's £30,000 award.

With nine British authors, eight Americans, two Australians and a Tahitian, the long-list presents one of the strongest British showings in years. The prize, open to any novel written by a woman in English and published in the UK, has often found more writers from overseas than home-grown talent.

The author Kate Mosse, co-founder of the prize, said: "All the big names you would expect to see are on this Orange Prize long-list as well as a healthy smattering of first novels."

The list includes a trio of historical tales from Philippa Gregory, Sarah Waters and Helen Dunmore as well as Gilead, the first book by the American Marilynne Robinson since her debut, Housekeeping, 25 years ago.

Three novels stem directly from the diverse personal experiences of their authors, Ms Mosse said. Carrie Tiffany wrote Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living after falling in love with the Australian landscape as a park ranger in Melbourne. It was prompted by learning about the better-farming train that traversed Australia in the 1930s dispensing agricultural advice.

Lorraine Adams wrote Harbor on the back of her Pulitzer Prize-winning experience as an investigative journalist on The Washington Post. "It's had outstanding reviews in America for taking you inside the mind of a young Algerian man who may or may not have been a terrorist," Ms Mosse said.

Celestine Hitiura Vaite, the Tahitian author of Frangipani, wrote her story after falling in love with a surfer and moving to Australia to live on a beach - despite being terrified of water. "That experience forms the basis of the book. What is extraordinary is that she learnt English only when she got to Australia, from women's magazines," Ms Mosse said.

Rodney Troubridge, fiction buyer for Waterstone's bookshops, said the list showed the quality and breadth of women's writing. "This year's Orange Prize long-list is a really interesting and diverse list, no surprise coming from this particular prize," he said. "There really is something for everyone here, whether you are interesting in literary fiction, historical fiction or something more mainstream."

His tips for the shortlist were Hilary Mantel, Zadie Smith, Ali Smith, Sarah Waters, Marilynne Robinson and Helen Dunmore. But he added: "I am particularly delighted to see Disobedience there. Naomi Alderman's first novel is challenging and hugely enjoyable."

The judges for this year's prize include the journalist Martha Kearney, the children's writer Jacqueline Wilson and comedienne Jenny Éclair. The winner will be announced on 6 June.

The long-list

* Leila Aboulela: Minaret

* Lorraine Adams: Harbor

* Naomi Alderman:

Disobedience

* Jill Dawson: Watch Me Disappear

* Helen Dunmore: House of Orphans

* Philippa Gregory: The Constant Princess

* Alice Greenaway: White Ghost Girls

* Gail Jones: Dreams of Speaking

* Nicole Krauss: The History of Love

* Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black * Sue Miller: Lost in the Forest

* Joyce Carol Oates: Rape: A Love Story

* Marilynne Robinson: Gilead * Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep

* Ali Smith: The Accidental

* Zadie Smith: On Beauty

* Carrie Tiffany: Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

* Celestine Hitiura Vaite: Frangipani

* Sarah Waters: The Night Watch

* Meg Wolitzer: The Position

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