LONDON — American novelist Barbara Kingsolver took home the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction on Wednesday with her sixth novel, "The Lacuna," beating bookmakers' favorite Hilary Mantel.
Kingsolver, who had not published a novel in nine years, said she was "stunned and thrilled" as she received the 30,000 pound ($45,000 ) prize – open to any novel by a woman published in English – at London's Royal Festival Hall.
"The Lacuna" tells of the epic journey of a man who moved between the United States and Mexico amid revolution and war. It was up against five other novels, including Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning Tudor tale "Wolf Hall."
"We chose 'The Lacuna' because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy," said chair of the judges Daisy Goodwin. "We had very different tastes on the panel, but in the end we went for passion not compromise."
Other shortlisted titles included American writer Lorrie Moore's "A Gate at the Stairs"; Attica Locke's "Black Water Rising"; Briton Rosie Alison's "The Very Thought of You," and British-Trinidadian writer Monique Roffey's "The White Woman on the Green Bicycle."
Kingsolver was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 1999 for the best-selling "The Poisonwood Bible."