Orange Prize to lose its color

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Britain’s Orange Prize for Fiction, which is annually awarded to a female author, will cease to be orange after the 2012 award is presented next week. That’s because the Orange Prize is sponsored by Orange, a British mobile communications company, which after 17 years has decided to end its association with the prize.

According to the Bookseller, Orange plans to move its arts support to movie projects.


Orange was the originating sponsor of the Orange Prize when it was founded in 1996. Nevertheless, Orange Prize co-founder -- or, erm, Prize for Fiction co-founder -- Kate Mosse put a positive spin on the change.

This is the end of an era, but no major arts project should stand still. We are very much looking forward to developing the Prize for the future and working with a new sponsor to ensure the Prize grows and plays an even more significant part in the years to come. We are in active discussions with a number of potential new brand partners and look forward to the start of another exciting chapter for the Prize.

British literary prizes have been successful at attracting corporate sponsorships. In addition to the Orange Prize, there’s the Booker -- the Man Booker, thanks to the Man investing company. In the U.S., non-literary companies have not been quick to underwrite literary awards. Although that didn’t stop book consultant Bella Stander from quipping, ‘Apple should take over Orange Prize. Then we could compare apples to oranges’ on Twitter.

The final Orange Prize will be awarded at a ceremony in London on May 30. There are six books shortlisted for the award: ‘Foreign Bodies’ by Cynthia Ozick, ‘The Forgotten Waltz’ by Anne Enright, ‘Half-Blood Blues’ by Esi Edugyan, ‘Painter of Silence’ by Georgia Harding, ‘Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller, and ‘State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett. The winner will recieve a statue and an award of more than $47,000.


2012: Orange Prize shortlist


2011: Tea Obreht wins the Orange Prize

2010: Barbara Kingsolver wins the Orange Prize

-- Carolyn Kellogg