This just in: the shortlist for the 2003 Orange Prize has been announced. Carol Shields, Donna Tartt, Zadie Smith, Anne Donovan, Shena Mackay and Valerie Martin are in contention for the award, which goes to the best fiction written by a woman. Though the Babu doesn’t believe that literature and literary prizes should be segregated on the basis of the kind of chromosomes you possess, he’s read almost all the books on the Orange shortlist and has to admit that they make for far more entertaining and far less boring reading than the average Booker or Impac shortlist. Of course gender has nothing to do with that

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