The three authors who comprise the shortlist for the 2008 Orange Award for new female writers have been confirmed.

One British author is up against an American writer and a South Africa-based scribe for the award, the winner of which will be named on June 4th.

Arts Council England offers the winner a £10,000 bursary as part of the prize, which is offered to any female authors writing their first work of fiction in English.

Joanna Kavenna's Inglorious is nominated alongside The Monsters of Templeton, by American author Lauren Groff, and The Voluptuous Delights of Butter and Jam, written by Lauren Liebenberg, who set her novel in 1970s Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - where she spent her childhood.

Shami Chakrabati, who chairs this year's judging panel paid tribute to the three writers shortlisted, adding: "These three books are truly ambitious in scope and reflect the international nature of this prize."

Ms Chakrabati, director of human rights organisation Liberty, said the wealth of talent among female authors meant deciding on a shortlist of three was a "huge challenge".

The announcement followed the news that singer Lily Allen has withdrawn from the judging panel for the main award, the Orange Prize for Fiction, due to "ill health".

"Rather than do a disservice to what she sees as an incredible array of female literary talent, it has been agreed that she will withdraw before the final judging takes place," a spokesperson explained.

"Lily hopes that her withdrawal will not detract from the huge importance of the Orange Prize and sends her sincere apologies to her fellow judges and to the individual authors."

08/04/2008 07:02:27