Earlier this week, just days out from the announcement of the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction winner, news broke that the prize's namesake, telecommunications company Orange, will be ceasing its sponsorship after this year. The award, which honors women novelists and comes with a thirty-thousand-pound purse (approximately forty-seven thousand dollars), has been given annually since 1996.
Despite the dissolution of what by prize director Kate Mosse's estimate was a successful partnership—according to a quote from Mosse in the Huffington Post, over the years, the prize has afforded Orange "the equivalent of 17 million pounds in advertising revenue"—prize administrators are keeping an optimistic tone about the impact of the move. "This is the end of an era, but no major arts project should stand still," Mosse wrote in a letter on the prize website. "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."
According to Mosse, a number of potential "brand partners" are already in talks with the Prize for Fiction administrators.
Past winners of the prize, which, while based in the United Kingdom, has never been limited to U.K. authors, include American novelists Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett, and Marilynne Robinson, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Canadian authors Anne Michaels and Carol Shields. This year's shortlist is comprised of titles by Americans Madeline Miller, Cynthia Ozick, and Patchett, Canadian author Esi Edugyan, Irish author Anne Enright, and British author Georgina Harding. The final recipient of the Orange Prize will be announced at a ceremony in London on May 30.
In the video below, the shortlist of this year's award is announced at the London Book Fair.