Andrea Levy won the $55,000 Orange Prize for fiction by women for her fourth book, Small Island, a novel about the experiences of black Jamaican immigrants in post-World War II Britain.
The Orange Prize is open to any novel by a woman published in English.
Based on the lives of Levy's own parents, Small Island tells the story of Gilbert and Hortense Joseph, who arrive in London in 1948 in search of a better life.
Gilbert is one of several thousand Jamaican men who had joined the Royal Air Force in the war against Germany. After arriving, however, the couple are shocked by the austere conditions and racism in their adopted homeland.
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