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Should We Be Worried About the Future of the Orange Prize?

Am I the only one who had no idea that the Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain’s annual award celebrating “excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing throughout the world,” was named for the mobile communications company who has been sponsoring it for the past 17 years? I’m only finding out now because as The Bookseller reports, this will be Orange’s final year as the award’s title sponsor, purportedly because the company plans to focus more on film sponsorship moving forward. On one hand, really weird, right? On the other, maybe they were sick of people like me, who had no idea that the brand was behind the literary prize.

“It sounds daft but we’re very excited about the future of the prize going forward,” prize’s co-founder Kate Mosse told The Bookseller. “It is very, very unusual for a massive arts sponsorship like this to come onto the market, it has great value, and this is a moment to be looking to the future, that’s how the business community has reacted.” It’s important to note that the cost of the winner’s £30,000 prize and the bronze “Bessie” are both are anonymously endowed; the money that Orange contributed covered the awards ceremony, as well as “the prize point of sale, and promotion of the prize to the international market.” Any nominations (serious, or otherwise) for a brand that should step in and take Orange’s place? [via Jacket Copy]

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