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No Orange for Orange Prize

The Orange Prize is homeless and nameless as we speak. The Orange Prize for fiction is awarded to female novelists writing in English. Chimamanda Adichie won it in 2007, Zadie Smith in 2006 and Barbara Kingsolver in 2010. Until now it’s been sponsored by Orange, a mobile phone and broadband company in the Uk, hence the name. But Orange mobile has decided to ditch novels for films and has announced that this year’s prize is the last 30, 000 pounds it’ll shell out to support international writing in English by women. Orange mobile is suggesting that there’s no hard feelings. It just feels like trying something new.

“While relinquishing sponsorship of the Prize is tinged with sadness, we’re hugely proud of what Orange and the Women’s Prize for Fiction have achieved.” Continue Reading 

Behind this diplomatic-speak are, perhaps, murmurs of complaints:

“Look, it’s been nice keep it real, but let’s face it, books just don’t get people to sign cellphone and broadband contracts.”

Is this another in a growing body of warnings signs telling us that novels are fast losing their ground as a dominate cultural object?

Here are this year’s Orange prize shortlist. The Americans are clearly dominating. The winner gets unveiled in a few days, on May 30th.

Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues Serpent’s Tail Canadian 2nd Novel
Anne Enright The Forgotten Waltz Jonathan Cape Irish 5th Novel
Georgina Harding Painter of Silence Bloomsbury British 3rd Novel
Madeline Miller The Song of Achilles Bloomsbury American 1st Novel
Cynthia Ozick Foreign Bodies Atlantic Books American 7th Novel
Ann Patchett State of Wonder Bloomsbury American 6th Novel

Image via Beach Tomato

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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  1. 30,000 Pounds and a Very Happy Madeline Miller | Brittle Paper - 2012/05/30

    […] The world must be colored in orange for Madeline Miller. She’s the winner of the Orange Prize for fiction, a prize given to a female novelist writing in English. The American novelist is 30, 000 pounds richer for her debut novel, The Songs of Achilles. I’m really happy for her. Of course, the sales of her book are expected to skyrocket. Champagne glasses may still be clinking, but detractors are busy. Some are questioning the literary merit of her novel. Even The Telegraph that seems pretty excited about Millers modern retelling of the Achilles-Patroclus story calls the novel a  ”homoerotic slash fiction” of sorts. I get the sense that Miller’s novel is a fun read but no literary masterpiece. Which, honestly, can be a good thing. Winning this prize must be special for Miller not just because she’s the fourth American in a row to snag the award but also because she got the last Orange prize for fiction. Yes last one ever. Orange Mobile recently pulled out their sponsorship. They have their eyes on the film industry. For more on this click HERE. […]

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