Andrea Levy: ‘one of the most important literary voices of our time’

Photo of Andrea Levy

 ‘I started to realise what fiction could be. And I thought, wow! You can be ambitious, you can take on the world – you really can.’ – Andrea Levy

We are so very sad to hear of the death of acclaimed British novelist Andrea Levy. Andrea won the then Orange Prize for Fiction in 2004 with her beautiful novel Small Island, and then won the ‘Best of the Best’ of the first ten years of the Prize in 2005. Andrea was such an important part of our history and we will miss her terribly.

When Andrea won the Prize in 2004, chair of judges Sandi Toksvig commented: ‘Small Island is an astonishing tour de force by Andrea Levy. A compassionate account of the problems of post-war immigration, it cannot fail to have a strong modern resonance.’

Heartfelt messages have been pouring in from people such as Reni Eddo-Lodge, Gary Younge, Sharmaine Lovegrove, Linda Grant, Malorie Blackman and many more. To add to the tributes to Andrea’s incredible contribution to literature, here are a couple of quotes from former Women’s Prize judge Louise Doughty and our Founder Director Kate Mosse.

‘We are desperately sad to hear of the death of Andrea Levy.  The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2004 (then the Orange Prize), Andrea was long-listed for the very first Prize in 1996 (for her second novel Never Far From Nowhere) and, in the second year, generously agreed to be a judge. Believing in the profound ability of fiction to change hearts and minds, Andrea brought to that process the same fierce intelligence, joy of language, wry wit, clarity of thought and uncompromising humanity that characterises her writing.  From Every Light in the House Burnin and ground-breaking Small Island to the dazzling The Long Song and Six Stories & an Essay, she was a brilliant, principled, inspirational writer – one of the most important literary voices of our time’ – Kate Mosse, Novelist & Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction

‘Andrea Levy will be remembered as a novelist who broke out of the confines assigned to her by prejudice to become a both a forerunner of Black British excellence and a great novelist by any standards’ – Louise Doughty, 2011 Women’s Prize judge (read Louise’s entire incredibly moving obituary here:

We hope you will join in the conversation @WomensPrize and celebrate Andrea’s life and work by sharing with us your favourite memories of reading Andrea’s incredible novels and essays.

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