The Song of Achilles wins the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction

Miller First-time American novelist Madeline Miller has won the 2012 Orange Prize with her novel The Song of Achilles - a retelling of the Iliad.

Joanna Trollope, chair of the judges said of the win, “This is a more than worthy winner — original, passionate, inventive and uplifting. Homer would be proud of her.”

Here is the winning book’s synopsis:

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Miller’s win came as a bit of a surprise, beating out favoured books such as State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, The Forgotten Waltz by and Anne Enright and Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick.

The Orange Prize recognises excellence in women’s writing and comes with £30,000 in prize money. This was the last version of the prize in its current form, with long-running sponsor Orange pulling out of the prize a few weeks ago. Although we expect it will be back next year with a brand new name.

The Song of Achilles is out now in paperback ($19.95) or ebook ($14.95).

Read an extract.

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller

$19.99Buy now

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