American author Madeline Miller was awarded the Orange Prize for fiction at a ceremony in London on Wednesday. It was for Miller’s first book, the novel “The Song of Achilles,” and marked the occasion of the last Orange Prize, worth about $47,000.
It was announced last week that telecom company Orange would cease sponsoring the 17-year-old prize, which is awarded to a female author for a work of fiction written in English.
Newcomer Miller was the dark horse in this year’s race. She beat out previous Orange Prize winner Ann Patchett, octogenarian Cynthia Ozick, Man Booker Prize finalist Esi Edugyan, Georgina Harding and Irish Man Booker Prize winner Anne Enright.
“The Song of Achilles,” told by Patroclus, a peripheral but significant figure in “The Iliad,” was praised by Joanna Trollope, chair of the Orange judges, as “original, passionate, inventive and uplifting.”
Broadway makes record revenue
Broadway shows brought in record revenue of $1.14 billion for the 2011-12 season, but attendance was largely flat compared with the last season, holding steady at 12.3 million.
The results, which were announced this week by the Broadway League, suggest that shows benefited from higher ticket prices.
The Broadway League reported that 40 new shows opened during the season — 14 musicals, 23 plays and three specials. The season officially ran from May 30, 2011 through May 27 of this year.
Dolphins in for ‘Hard Knocks’
The Miami Dolphins are teaming up with HBO Sports and NFL Films for the latest installment of “Hard Knocks,” the cable network’s series that offers a pass into the daily lives and routines of an NFL team.
“Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Miami Dolphins” will kick off its five-episode season on Aug. 7. This edition will also mark the 40th anniversary of what some sports fans call the greatest season in NFL history: Don Shula’s 1972 Dolphins, who had a perfect undefeated record.
Gibb’s funeral will be private
A private funeral service for Bee Gees star Robin Gibb will take place next week, with a public memorial service planned for later in the year.
In a statement issued Wednesday on behalf of Gibb’s family, his relatives confirmed that a service for “close family and friends” would take place on June 8. The location was not disclosed.
Gibb, a founder of the Bee Gees with his two late brothers, died on May 20 after a long battle with cancer at the age of 62.
MacDowell to star for Hallmark
Andie MacDowell is going where actor Dean Cain and craft guru Martha Stewart have gone before: the Hallmark Channel. But she’ll appear in a different capacity, starring in the network’s first prime-time series.
“Cedar Cove” is based on the book series by Debbie Macomber and will feature MacDowell as municipal court Judge Olivia Lockhart.
It will start with a two-hour movie pilot airing later this year, then continue with 13 episodes in 2013.
MacDowell starred in such films as “Groundhog Day” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and currently appears on “Jane by Design” on ABC Family.
Back to the drawing board
The design of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., has been a long, contentious process, and it doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.
On Wednesday, the Eisenhower family issued a statement saying they can’t support architect Frank Gehry’s revise because of the proposed use of large metal scrims.
The scrims, which would serve as a backdrop for the memorial, are “impractical and unnecessary for the conceptual narrative,” the family said in the statement. They said the scrims are the most expensive aspect of the design and pose potential maintenance and environmental issues.
The Eisenhower family had objected to Gehry’s first designs for the memorial, saying that they put too much emphasis on the former president’s upbringing in Kansas and not enough on his military and political accomplishments.
Gehry revised the design to include statues depicting Eisenhower. But he decided to keep the metal scrims, or tapestries, that had been in his prior designs.
Gehry Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.