Apple and the Orange: What Does Cupertino Want With a Womens' Fiction Prize?

Apple may take over as sponsor for the Orange Prize For Fiction (see Grants for Creative Writing), according to The Sunday Telegraph. A French telecommunications company called Orange initially sponsored the prize, but announced its intention to pull its funding a few months ago. Since then, organizers of the award have opened negotiations with a number of other possible sponsors. Out of the several offers on the table, "discussions with Apple were the most advanced."

The site for the Orange Prize For Fiction says that a group of journalists, writers, and folks from a variety of other professions relevant to the publishing industry began meeting in London to talk about founding a literature prize for women in 1992. They found private funding, approached Orange, and awarded the first round of $30,000 prizes in 1996. In addition to the 30-large, recipients also walk away with "The Bessie," a small bronze statue, in commemoration of their achievement.

In the event that Apple does take over sponsorship of the Orange Fiction Prize For Women, it remains anyone's guess what impact it would make on their selection process. For an idea of the prize's tastes in its current configuration, a Latin teacher named Madeline Miller won this year for The Song of Achilles: a Novel.

As The Sunday Telegraph indicates, the bid for a sponsorship position with a public contest such as the Orange Prize represents a curious deviation from Apple's normal modus operandi in marketing. It may have something to do with their recent scuffles with Amazon over the pricing of e-books. Should this hunch prove correct, the already ubiquitous Apple insignia may begin appearing with more frequency within the publishing industry, and namely in e-publishing.

Another important factor is where Orange intends to re-invest the money previously assigned to their literary prize. According to a press release from the company this past May, they have developed a keen interest in the film industry, asserting that "film resonates highly with smartphone users." They have signed up for co-sponsorships with the likes of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Announcements about an Orange Prize in cinema seem likely (see Grants for Film).