Andrea Levy takes Orange Prize

Andrea Levy has won Britain’s Orange Prize for Fiction 2004 with Small Island. An excerpt of the novel appears on her website.

Levy talked with Bonnie Greer in January about her mixed-race Jamaican heritage and revealed that she originally “had no intention of becoming a writer.” Once she decided to write, though:

she was “hungry, hungry, hungry”. She took a course, wrote her first book, found an agent, suffered rejection, but that didn’t matter. She had reached a point where she needed to read her own story, place her life and the lives of people like her into the canon. She does indeed want her portrait to hang in the National Portrait Gallery – though this is, she says, “just one of those ambitions of mine, like having my ashes scattered along Upper Street in Islington”. Writing has become a way of understanding who she is, because she wasn’t always sure.


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