'The Tiger's Wife' author Obreht nominated for Orange Prize

Author Téa Obreht grew up in the Balkans against the backdrop of civil war. She never knew her father, and learned English from Disney films, before her family eventually emigrated to America. After writing The Tiger's Wife, a critically-acclaimed novel released this month which draws on her own upbringing, Obreht has now completed her own fairy-tale: a place on the coveted longlist for this year's Orange Prize for Fiction. All at the grand old age of 25.

Obreht has been named one of nine first-time writers to feature on this year's longlist for the award, which celebrates women's fiction. It is the highest number of first-time works to feature on the longlist in 11 years. Authors on the list also draw from such diverse inspirations as Josef Fritzl, in Emma Donoghue's book The Room, and US television series the Sopranos, which US author Jennifer Egan says inspired A Visit From the Goon Squad, her postmodern exploration of the interplay between time and music, which last week beat Jonathan Franzen's Freedom to win the prestigious US National Books Critics Circle fiction prize.

"I just heard the news and it is fantastic it is so exciting," said Obreht. "It has been thrilling to hear something like this because I've been on the fly a lot and it's been so hectic. It's overwhelmingly wonderful, and I am so honoured. I didn't think I would write about my childhood. It just happened; people are just responding to the work. It's been an amazing couple of weeks."Obreht said she spent three years' writing the work and is currently working on her second novel; she is now based in Ithaca, New York.

Obreht lived in Belgrade until she was seven. Against the backdrop of civil war, her family moved to Cyprus, then Cairo, then the US. She began writing the book, the story of a young doctor coping with her grandfather's death, shortly after graduating from the University of Southern California. Her agent Seth Fishman, of New York's Sterling Lloyd Listeristic Inc, is only 30. Her editor, Noah Eaker, a senior editor at Random House, was 26 when he acquired the work, which has already been excerpted in the New Yorker's 20 Under 40 issue last summer, and has been profiled on the cover of the New York Times Book Review.

Twenty authors appear on the list in total, including Carol Birch, for Jamrach's Menagerie, the story of a journey to the Dutch East Indies, and Lola Shoneyin's The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, an exploration of polygamy in a Nigerian family.

"There is enormous scope and variety in these books," said jury member Susannah Reid. "The long-list is so rich and diverse, whatever preconceptions anyone might think of women's literature, this blows them away. " The winner will will receive a cheque for £30,000 at a ceremony held on 8 June at London's Royal Festival Hall.

Longlist in full

Leila Aboulela - Lyrics Alley

Carol Birch - Jamrach's Menagerie

Emma Donoghue - Room

Tishani Doshi - The Pleasure Seekers

Louise Doughty - Whatever You Love

Jennifer Egan - A Visit from the Goon Squad

Aminatta Forna - The Memory of Love

Tessa Hadley - The London Train

Emma Henderson - Grace Williams Says it Loud

Samantha Hunt - The Seas

Joanna Kavenna - The Birth of Love

Nicole Krauss - Great House

Wendy Law-Yone - The Road to Wanting

Téa Obreht - The Tiger's Wife

Julie Orringer - The Invisible Bridge

Anne Peile - Repeat it Today with Tears

Karen Russell - Swamplandia!

Lola Shoneyin - The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

Roma Tearne - The Swimmer

Kathleen Winter - Annabel

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all