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April 1, 2009

Youth Panel to Shadow Official Orange Prize Judges

Filed under: News — Tags: , — karol @ 9:52 pm

Youth Panel to Shadow Official Orange Prize Judges

Six teenagers will form a youth panel to shadow the judging process of the official Orange Prize 2009 judges it was announced today. The Orange Prize for Fiction is the UK’s only annual book award for international fiction written by a woman.

The three girls and three boys, aged between 16 – 19, will read the 20 books longlisted for the 2009 Orange Prize, then meet to choose their own shortlist of six and subsequently, a winner. They will be sharing their experiences of judging a book prize publicly online via the teenage website, Spinebreakers (

“Some years ago, we had a male panel shadowing the main prize, which raised all sorts of interesting issues. Since there’s a big debate at present in the book trade about teenage reading, it seemed a logical step to set up a shadow teenage panel,” commented Kate Mosse, author and Honorary Director of the Orange Prize. “We hope that it will not only engage a wider, younger audience with the Prize but also provide interesting insights into the judging process and the question of who reads what.”

“I love books and feel very proud to be part of this youth panel,” said Lily Dessau, aged 16.

“I’m really looking forward to being a member of the panel and to getting stuck into the discussions,” added Francis Gene-Rowe, aged 18.

The official Orange Prize judging panel this year includes broadcaster Fi Glover (Chair), writer and novelist Bidisha, journalist and academic Sarah Churchwell, journalist Kira Cochrane and entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox.

The choices of the youth panel will not influence the decisions of the official panel, but will be made public after the announcement of the Orange Prize shortlist in April. Orange Prize Honorary Director, the novelist Kate Mosse, will sit in on the discussions of both sets of judges and act as facilitator of the youth panel.

The youth panel consists of:

· Lily Dessau (16), studying Art, English, History and Maths and a fan of Philip Pullman, George Orwell and Malorie Blackman

· Joe Kerridge (16), an avid reader of Jack Kerouac and Harold Pinter who also plays for the England youth cricket team

· Clarissa Pabi (18), currently studying for A-levels in English Literature, Philosophy and Maths whose favourite authors include Mary Shelley, Will Self and J.K. Rowling

· Rossana Duarte (18) also studying for A-levels who enjoys reading and writing poetry in her spare time and cites Jane Austen, Stephen Fry and Isabel Allende as her favourite authors

· Francis Gene-Rowe (18), a gap year student, whose favourite authors include Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald

· Max Elsworth (19) an A-level student and aspiring journalist who lists Tolkien, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, R.L Stine and J.K. Rowling as his top five authors

The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote international fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible and is awarded for the best novel of the year written by a woman. Any woman writing in English – whatever her nationality, country of residence, age or subject matter – is eligible.

Previous winners are 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).
Notes to Editors:

The official Orange Prize for Fiction 2009 shortlist will be announced by Fi Glover on Tuesday 21 April 2009 at London Book Fair.

About Spinebreakers is a teen online book community run by teenagers themselves.

Launched in 2007, editorial control of the site is in the hands of a core editorial team of nine teenagers aged between 13 and 18 years, supported by a large network of contributing teen editors from across the UK.

The teen team produce a wide variety of multi-media content for the website including video and audio reviews, alternative book jackets and endings, soundtracks, author interviews, podcasts, blogs, short stories and much more.

About the Youth Panel
The youth panel were recruited via the Spinebreakers website, the UK’s only online book community for teenagers run by teenagers.

Lily Dessau, 16
Lily lives in South London and is studying Art, English, History and Maths at school. She loves reading and is the longest-serving member of Spinebreakers. Also a fan of live music, Lily would like to study English Literature at University and her ambition is to become a writer or journalist. Her favourite authors include Philip Pullman, George Orwell and Malorie Blackman and she also enjoys reading murder/mystery, comedy and adventure stories.

Joe Kerridge, 16
Joe goes to school in South East London. He has loved reading since a child and cites literature and sport as his two main passions. His top five authors at the moment include Ian McEwan, Jack Kerouac, Harold Pinter, Franz Kafka and Stephen Fry. Joe also plays for the England youth cricket team.

Clarissa Pabi, 18
Clarissa is currently studying for A-levels in English Literature, Philosophy and Maths and also enjoys theatre, physics and politics. She writes for the Spinebreakers website and last year became the 2008 Roundhouse Theatre Poetry Champion. She is also part of the Barbican Young Poets. Her ambition is to become a critic and a writer and her favourite authors include Will Self, J.K Rowling and Mary Shelley.

Rossana Duarte, 18
Rossana is taking Physics, Chemistry and Biology A-levels and she hopes to go to university to study Chemistry. Her hobbies include go-karting, reading and writing poetry and astronomy and her dream is to become an astronaut. Rossana’s favourite authors include Jane Austen, Stephen Fry, Isabel Allende and F.Scott Fitzgerald.

Francis Rowe-Gene, 18
Francis is a gap year student and next year he will be going to UCL to read English. In the meantime he works as a part-time teacher and tutor. His main interests are theatre, music, film and writing and he hopes one day to work in one or more of those fields. In the past he has worked on several theatre projects both in school and out, and when he is not teaching, he can normally be found with his nose in a book.

Max Elsworth, 19
Max is currently finishing English and History A-levels at college and his ambition is to study English at Oxford. His main hobbies include reading, writing, playing the cello and guitar. An aspiring story writer, poet, song writer and journalist, Max’s top five authors are Tolkien, Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, R.L Stine and J.K. Rowling.

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