Women's Prize for Fiction
|Women's Prize for Fiction|
|Awarded for||Best full-length novel written in English by a woman of any nationality|
|Sponsor||Private benefactors (2012-)
|Presented by||Women's Prize for Fiction|
|Official website||Women's Prize for Fiction|
The Women's Prize for Fiction (previously called Orange Prize for Fiction (2008-2012) and Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (1996-2008)) is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, annually awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English, and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year. The prize was originally sponsored by Orange, a telecommunications company. In May 2012, it was announced Orange would be ending its sponsorship of the prize. As of October 2012, the award is formally known as the Women's Prize for Fiction, and is sponsored by "private benefactors" led by Cherie Blair and writers Joanna Trollope and Elizabeth Buchan.
The prize was established to recognise the contribution of female writers. The winner of the prize receives £30,000, along with a bronze sculpture called the Bessie created by artist Grizel Niven, the sister of actor and writer David Niven. Typically, a longlist of nominees is announced around March each year, followed by a shortlist in June; within days the winner is announced. The winner is selected by a board of "five leading women" each year.
The prize has since spawned other awards including the Harper's Bazaar Broadband Short Story Competition, the Orange Award for New Writers, the Penguin/Orange Readers' Group Prize, and the Reading Book Group of the Year.
In support of the 2004 award, the Orange Prize for Fiction published a list of 50 contemporary "essential reads". The books were chosen by a sample of 500 people attending the Guardian Hay festival and represent the audience's "must have" books by living UK writers. The list is called the Orange Prize for Fiction's "50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors".
The fact that the prize singles out female writers is not without controversy. After the prize was founded, Auberon Waugh nicknamed it the "Lemon Prize" while Germaine Greer claimed there would soon be a prize for "writers with red hair". Winner of the 1990 Man Booker Prize A. S. Byatt has called it a "sexist prize", claiming "such a prize was never needed." In 2007, former editor of The Times Simon Jenkins called the prize "sexist". In 2008, writer Tim Lott called the award "a sexist con-trick" and suggested "the Orange Prize is sexist and discriminatory, and it should be shunned". In 2012, Cynthia Ozick writing in the New York Times said the Prize "was not born into an innocent republic of letters" when it comes to a history of women writers being discriminated against. Her conclusion is that "For readers and writers, in sum, the more prizes the better, however they are structured, and philosophy be damned."
Beyond the prize's woman-only focus, other criticism have been made. In 1999, the chairwoman of the judges, Lola Young, claimed that British female literature fell into two categories, either "insular and parochial" or "domestic in a piddling kind of way". Linda Grant suffered accusations of plagiarism following her award in 2000, while the following year, a panel of male critics produced their own shortlist and heavily criticised the genuine shortlist. The 2007 shortlist was decried for being derived from "... a lot of dross ..." by the chair of the judging panel Muriel Gray.
 Winners and shortlisted writers
- Robert McCrum (13 October 2012). "How prize that used to be Orange was saved – and rebranded". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Pryor, Fiona (28 December 2007). "Life after Orange Prize success". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
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- Forna, Aminatta (11 June 2005). "Stranger than fiction". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- "Rules for entry". Orange prize for Fiction. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- Benedicte Page (22 May 2012). "Orange to cease sponsorship of Fiction Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Orange Prize FAQs". Orange prize for Fiction. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- Merritt, Stephanie (28 October 2007). "The model of a modern writer". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- "About the Prize". Orange prize for Fiction. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "How the Prize is judged". Orange prize for Fiction. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- Patrick O'Donnell (editor). The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, see "Awards and Prizes" by Richard Todd, pp. 19–22.
- Andrew Maunder (editor). The Facts On File Companion to the British Short Story, see "Awards and Prizes" by Vana Avegerinou, pp. 22–24.
- "Harry's 'must-read' snub", London Evening Standard, 7 Jun 2004.
- Pressley, James (21 April 2009). "Robinson, Feldman Make Final Round in Orange Prize for Fiction". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Bedell, Geradline (6 March 2005). "Textual politics". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Alberge, Dalya (18 March 2008). "A. S. Byatt denounces 'sexist' Orange prize". The Times (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Reynolds, Nigel (18 April 2007). "Booker prize author joins Orange shortlist". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Guest, Katy (6 June 2008). "The Big Question: Has the time come to close the book on women-only literary prizes?". The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Oakes, Keily (3 June 2003). "The fiction of women's writing". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- "Prize or Prejudice". The New York Times. June 6, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Gibbons, Fiachra (10 May 1999). "'Piddling' British fiction loses out to Americans". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Kennedy, Maev (8 June 2000). "Orange prize winner rejects claims of plagiarism". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Gibbons, Flachra (19 May 2001). "Sexes clash on Orange prize". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Majendie, Paul (6 June 2007). "Nigerian author wins top women's fiction prize". Reuters. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Women's Prize for Fiction, official website
- Shortlisted works for the Orange Prize at LibraryThing
- Orange Prize for Fiction's "50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors" at LibraryThing