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Orange for Kingsolver

Hasan Suroor

— Photo: AFP

Barbara Kingsolver with the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction in London on Wednesday.

LONDON: A novelist, regarded as a “traitor” by the American right for her criticism of the country's foreign policy and her outspoken comments after the 9/11 attacks, is the surprise winner of this year's Orange Prize for fiction, Britain's highly-regarded literary honour for women writers .

Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, the story of an American writer who becomes a victim of anti-communist McCarthyist witch-hunt, won the £30,000 prize beating six contenders including Hilary Mantel's acclaimed Booker prize-winner Wolf Hall.

The Kentucky-born writer described her victory as a “lovely shock” and said she was “delighted”. The judges praised the book for its “passion'' and “breathtaking scale''.

Ms. Kingsolver (55), a strong critic of colonialism and evangelism, was attacked by the American Right for opposing the Iraq invasion and the post-9/11 “jingoistic” mood in her country. She was branded a “traitor” after she reportedly said the American flag had come to symbolise “intimidation, violence, bigotry”.

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