Author Lionel Shriver has won the Orange Prize for Fiction for her controversial book 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'.

The book tells the story of a successful career woman who, having become a mother, discovers that she does not love her child.

Later her son kills nine people in a school massacre and in letters to her estranged husband the woman examines whether her lack of maternal love could have made her son a killer.

Commenting on the book, the chair of the Orange judging panel, broadcaster Jenni Murray, said: "'We Need to Talk About Kevin' is a book that acknowledges what many women worry about but never express - the fear of becoming a mother and the terror of what kind of child one might bring into the world."

The prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, which is worth £30,000, is awarded annually to women writers.

47-year-old Shriver, whose book was turned down by 30 publishers before being accepted by Serpent's Tail, dedicated her win to struggling writers.

In her acceptance speech she said: "Having had a really hard time of it, and having been in the fiction business for about 20 years, I'd like to accept this prize on behalf of the hundreds, if not thousands, of writers - some of whom I know - who are incredibly talented and work incredibly hard and never quite get the recognition they deserve."

"Maybe the moral of this story is: hang in there," she added.

Diana Evans was named the winner of the inaugural Orange Prize for New Writers for her debut novel '26a'.