The U.K. phone company Orange announced today that it will terminate its sponsorship of the Orange Prize for Fiction, which it has lent its name to since the prize’s establishment in 1996.
The mobile services company, which joined with T-Mobile in 2010 to form Everything Everywhere, has decided to focus on its film industry sponsorship. This is its last year as sponsor of the fiction prize for women. The Bookseller quotes Steven Day, chief of brand and communications at Everything Everywhere:
While relinquishing sponsorship of the prize is tinged with sadness, we’re hugely proud of what Orange and the women’s prize for fiction have achieved over the past 17 years. The partnership has significantly raised the presence of international literature written by women in bookstores and on bookshelves across the country, and has played a key part in Orange’s success over the past decade and a half, taking our brand into areas that were traditionally harder to reach.
The announcement will undoubtedly upset many in the literary community. The U.K.-based Orange Prize for Fiction is known globally and has opened doors for women writing in English, celebrating excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Winners receive a £30,000 cheque and a bronze figurine known as the Bessie. While Orange has given its name to the prize and supported expenses, the prize money comes from a private benefactor, and will continue to be given in partnership with a new company.
Kate Mosse, co-founder and honorary director of the Prize for Fiction states in a letter:
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.
- Anne Enright, The Forgotten (Waltz Jonathan Cape)
- Georgina Harding, Painter of Silence (Bloomsbury)
- Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (Bloomsbury)
- Cynthia Ozick, Foreign Bodies (Atlantic Books)
- Ann Patchett, State of Wonder (Bloomsbury)