The Bookseller is reporting this morning that the Orange Prize for Fiction, the UK's leading prize for fiction written by women, will lose its sponsor after this year's winner is announced at a ceremony in London on 30 May. The mobile phone company, which has sponsored the prize since its inception 17 years ago, has decided to concentrate on film sponsorship.
Where does this leave what has become one of Britain's most sought-after literary prizes? Kate Mosse, a co-founder and now honorary director of the Prize, made a passable fist at sounding optimistic about the future. She told the Bookseller:
It sounds daft but we're very excited about the future of the prize going forward. 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.
We'll see. The shortlist for the last Prize in its current guise is as follows: Esi Dugyan, Half Blood Blues; Anne Enright, The Forgotten; Georgina Harding, Painter of Silence; Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles; Cynthia Ozick, Foreign Bodies; Ann Patchett, State of Wonder.
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