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8 June 11

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Téa Obreht wins 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction


Serbian/American author Téa Obreht has won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction with her debut novel The Tiger’s Wife (Weidenfeld & Nicolson). At 25, Obreht is the youngest-ever author to take the Prize.

Celebrating its sixteenth anniversary this year, the Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.

At an awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London, hosted by Orange Prize for Fiction Co-Founder and Honorary Director, Kate Mosse, the 2011 Chair of Judges, Bettany Hughes, presented the author with the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine. Both are anonymously endowed.

Bettany Hughes, Chair of Judges, said: “'The Tiger's Wife is an exceptional book and Téa Obreht is a truly exciting new talent. Obreht's powers of observation and her understanding of the world are remarkable. By skilfully spinning a series of magical tales she has managed to bring the tragedy of chronic Balkan conflict thumping into our front rooms with a bittersweet vivacity.”

She continues, “The book reminds us how easily we can slip into barbarity, but also of the breadth and depth of human love. Obreht celebrates storytelling and she helps us to remember that it is the stories that we tell about ourselves, and about others, that can make us who we are and the world what it is.”

The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction written by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible. The Orange Prize is awarded to the best novel of the year written in English by a woman.

The judges for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction are:

Bettany Hughes, (Chair), Broadcaster, Historian and Author

Liz Calder, founder-director of Bloomsbury Publishing and Full Circle Editions

Tracy Chevalier, Novelist

Helen Lederer, Actress and Writer

Susanna Reid, Journalist and Broadcaster

Stuart Jackson, Brand Communications Director at Orange, said: “2011 has been a particularly exciting year for us. We've engaged a whole new generation of readers by taking the Orange Prize digital. Our new online and mobile Orange Book store is giving readers a truly 21st century book-buying and reading experience, allowing them to interact with a vast catalogue of superb literary feasts, including this year's remarkable and rich Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist. It's a shortlist that reflects the fantastic range and diversity of women's fiction - but even from such an exceptional bunch of authors, there can only be one winner. Many congratulations to Téa Obreht.”

Téa Obreht

Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Belgrade. In 1992 her family moved to Cyprus and then to Egypt, where she learned to speak and read English, eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997.  After graduating from the University of Southern California, Téa received her MFA in Fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University in 2009.  Téa was featured in The New Yorker's Top 20 Writers under 40 Fiction Issue (June 2010) and at 24, was the youngest on the list. Her short story, The Laugh, debuted in The Atlantic fiction issue and was then chosen for The Best American Short Stories 2010, a further short story, The Sentry, featured in the Guardian Summer Fiction Issue. Her journalism has appeared in Harper’s magazine and she lives in Ithaca, New York.

The Tiger’s Wife

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic - Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book.

Years later, in a Balkan country ravaged by conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, is visiting an orphanage when she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death far from their home in mysterious circumstances. Remembering fragments of the stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for ‘the deathless man’ a vagabond who was said to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man, would go on such a far-fetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.

Previous winners of the Orange Prize are Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (2010), Marilynne Robinson for Home (2009), Rose Tremain for The Road Home (2008), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004), Valerie Martin for Property (2003), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto (2002), Kate Grenville for The Idea of Perfection (2001), Linda Grant for When I Lived in Modern Times (2000), Suzanne Berne for A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1999), Carol Shields for Larry’s Party (1998), Anne Michaels for Fugitive Pieces (1997), and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).

The 2011 award ceremony was sponsored by HTC, who helped showcase the Orange Book Store and Orange Prize Facebook and Twitter pages on their new HTC Flyer Tablet. The awards took place in The Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall, central London and guests toasted the announcement of the winner at a champagne drinks reception courtesy of Taittinger. In addition to the Orange Prize for Fiction winner announcement, aspiring novelist Bettany Whittle was named as the winner of the Orange/Grazia First Chapter Competition for unpublished writers.



Press Enquiries:

Amanda Johnson or Naomi Li at M&C Saatchi:

Tel: 020 7544 3894/0207 544 3687 or 07715 922 180/07837 252 397

Email: or

For images please visit:

If you would like to request an interview with Téa Obreht after 8th June, please contact Elizabeth Allen at Weidenfeld & Nicolson on (0) 207 520 4474 or at

Notes to Editors

About Orange

Orange is the key brand of the France Telecom Group, one of the world's leading telecommunications operators. With almost 131 million customers, the Orange brand now covers Internet, television and mobile services in the majority of countries where the Group operates.

In the UK, Orange provides high quality GSM coverage to 99% of the UK population, and 3G coverage to more than 93%.

Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trade marks of Orange Brand Services Limited.

On July 1 2010, the company became part of Everything Everywhere, one company that runs two of Britain's most famous brands - Orange UK and T-Mobile UK - with plans to transform the industry by giving customers instant access to everything, everywhere, offering them the best value, best choice and best network coverage in the country. Everything Everywhere Limited is the UK’s biggest communications company, with a combined customer base of almost 28 million people and more than 720 retail stores across the country. Everything Everywhere Limited is registered at Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9BW under the registered company number 02382161.

For more information please call the Orange Press Office 0870 3731500, or visit

About HTC

HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile industry. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC creates innovative smartphones and tablets that better serve the lives and needs of individuals. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit

About Orange Book Club:

Launched in July 2010, the Orange Book Club is a cloud-based service which allows users to read any book, anywhere; whether they’re curled up in bed with their tablet, on their morning commute from their mobile and also from their PC. The service is powered by Mobcast Services.

In March 2011, an Android app was released where customers can explore the Prize, this year’s winner & short list, and read about the previous winners and why they were chosen by the judges.

Other features include:

• Buy instantly and download ebooks in seconds – Orange customers can be charged on-bill

• Store books on your Bookshelf to read offline

• Browse the hottest new releases and special offers

• Browse and search over 25,000 titles

• Bookmark your favourite pages 

• Choose your own font style and size

About Mobcast Services: Any Book, Anywhere

Mobcast Services Ltd provide digital book services, software & platform solutions for major publishing houses, telcos, retailers & device manufacturers around the world. The Mobcast philosophy is for the customer to have the ability to access and read book on any compatible device from mobile phones to multimedia tablets; the infrastructure that powers this cross-platform offering has launched with European mobile operators & can be easily rebranded for any partner looking for a digital book service solution.

For more information about Mobcast, please visit

Press release: Sponsorship & EntertainmentOrange Prize For Fiction

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