Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Orange Prize Saved by Authors

Some months ago the world was saddened to hear that Orange would be withdrawing their sponsorship for the Orange Prize, a literary prize for full lengthnovels written in English by women writers anywhere in the world. The hope was someone would step in and take up the prize but time was passing and no news was forthcoming until now. It seems a group of private donors  led by Cherie Blair and bestselling writers Joanna Trollope and Elizabeth Buchan have stepped in to save the prize for 2013. There are numerous companies wanting to step into Orange's shoes but nothing had been finalised in time for the 2013 prize so best selling women authors stepped up to the plate. How great is that??

The prize was re-launched last week and has taken back it's former name, The Women's Prize for Fiction. I, for one, am thankful. I find novels on the shortlist to be exceptional usually. It is a prize that recognises women authors from around the globe and pulls them into the light of stardom.

I always find the criticism of the Orange Prize confusing. It is a known and quantifiable fact that books written by women get less attention. The prize was organised by women to rectify that situation. How is that a bad thing? Most famously AS Byatt called it a "sexist prize".

What do you think? Do you think the prize does more harm than good?


Sue Guiney said...

The controversy around the Orange Prize always baffled me. Yes, it would be lovely if a prize for women writers wasn't needed, if men and women were treated equally in all industries. But we all know it isn't true. The Orange Prize has brought attention to writers and their works that would not have received such attention otherwise. I was thrilled to hear that it was brought back from the dead, and that it was done privately by women.

Joyful said...

The fact that this prize has been saved for the support of women writers is wonderful news! Thanks for sharing it. Hopefully a good corporate sponsor can be found in time.