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Orange pulls out of women's Fiction

No longer the only kind of fruit

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The Orange Prize for Fiction, awarded annually to the best English-language novel from a female human author, will henceforth be known as the "Prize for Fiction" as Orange is taking its money elsewhere.

Orange will pay for this year's jamboree, which comes to a head next week, but after that the organisers will have to find someone else to stump up the cost of running the competition in what one of the founders describes as "an exciting new chapter" for the competition.

Not that Orange ever put up the £30,000 prize money, that comes from a legacy endowment, but for the last 17 years Orange has provided funds covering the running the competition in exchange for naming it - even changing it to "The Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction" when the company's ADSL service needed pumping.

Orange is half of Everything Everywhere these days: though it seems the operator wants to firm up the Orange brand's links to the film industry using repurposed literary-prize cash rather than killing it off. It seems that the demographic interested in women's fiction isn't the demographic to which EE feels it necessary to appeal these days.

Not that Everything Everywhere is ever very clear on how it wants to present itself. When it was launched, as an interim name for the joint operations of T-Mobile and Orange, we were assured there wouldn't even be a logo as the brands would remain independent. Now we have EE, Orange and T-Mobile shops all in the high street and all three brands being promoted almost equally.

The "Everything Everywhere Prize for Fiction" certainly lacks gravitas, but the organisers are very upbeat about finding a sponsor for next year, hopefully one with a suitably-studious moniker. ®

Bootnote

[We are aware that the novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit never won the Orange Prize and indeed couldn't have as it predated the telco's sponsorship. But we couldn't think of any other immediately recognisable works by women - or references to women's fiction - involving oranges or the colour orange, so we went with the subhead anyway. - Ed]

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