Last night the Orange Broadband Prize was awarded to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, her second novel. Her triumph, reports the Guardian’s John Ezard, vindicated the readers who have bought 187,000 copies since the paperback was published in January, and the bookmakers William Hill who made her odds-on favourite at 13/8. Adichie had previously been shortlisted for the Orange with her debut novel PURPLE HIBISCUS.
“This really comes as a wonderful, wonderful surprise,” Adichie said after collecting the prize. But she had feared the worst after having her handbag stolen at a London reading of her book on Tuesday and because the novel was so strongly fancied to win. “When I was told I was the bookies’ favourite in that wonderfully curious British tradition of betting on everything, I immediately thought it was the kiss of death,” she said.
The judges’ chair for the women-only contest, the writer and broadcaster Muriel Gray, said they were “hugely impressed by the power, ambition and skill of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel. It’s astonishing, not just in the skilful subject matter, but in the brilliance of its accessibility. This is a moving and important book by an incredibly exciting author. ”