Madeline Miller has been declared 2012 Orange Prize winner for her debut novel, The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the story of Achilles and the battle of Troy. Miller is the fourth consecutive American writer to win the prize, and will be the last to win it in its present name, the Orange Prize, as Orange will no longer be sponsoring the prize.

The Guardian reports:

In one of the biggest upsets in literary prize history, the mobile services company, Orange, recently announced that it will not be renewing its sponsorship of the prize for women’s fiction that has borne its name since the award’s inception 17 years ago.

The prize, which was set up to “celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from around the world”, is given annually to the best book by a woman written in English. Winners, who in the past have included Marilynne Robinson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith, are presented with a cheque for £30,000 and a bronze figurine known as “the Bessie”.

Despite the termination of what is at this point the longest continuous arts sponsorship in the UK, Kate Mosse, the award’s co-founder and honorary director, was upbeat about the prize’s future. Speaking to The Guardian, she praised Orange’s sponsorship of the prize, but said that while she was “very sad” not to be working with them anymore, “we’re excited at the idea of taking the prize on for another 17 years, and working with a new sponsor to grow it. It’s very rare for a sponsorship like this to come onto the market – the investment generates something in the region of £17.5m a year in advertising, and the cultural capital of the women’s prize for fiction is practically second to none. The potential is very exciting.”

Culled from The Guardian


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