Whitbread breaks its ties with £25,000 book prize

But its association with the award for the country's most enjoyable reads doesn't fit its image any more, the leisure company said yesterday.

The Whitbread name no longer appears on any products sold by the company, which operates through brands such as Beefeater restaurants, Costa Coffee and David Lloyd Leisure centres. The company has decided that its link with the literary world is outdated, and is in negotiations with four companies to find a replacement sponsor.

"Over the past few years [Whitbread] has undergone significant change," a company spokesman said. "It is no longer a consumer-facing brand.

"The board reviewed its sponsorship strategy and concluded that now is an opportune time to find a new sponsor. Whitbread's number one priority is to find a like-minded organisation that shares our vision for this award and is committed to developing and nurturing it."

The £25,000 Whitbread Prize is rivalled only by the Man Booker Prize for prestige and generates considerable publicity and subsequent sales for authors who win, or are shortlisted.

The shortlists for 2005, announced last month, included Salman Rushdie in the Novel category for his book, Shalimar the Clown, which also made it to the Man Booker longlist. Mr Rushdie is a previous winner of the category in 1995 for his novel The Moor's Last Sigh.

Past winners of the Whitbread have shown how important the prize is for promoting sales. Andrea Levy's Small Island, which won the Best Book of 2004, went on to sell more than 600,000 copies in paperback.

The 2003 winner, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon, has sold more than a million paperback copies.

In 2002, Claire Tomalin's biography of Samuel Pepys beat the novel Spies, written by her husband, Michael Frayn. In 2001, Philip Pullman found success with the only children's book to have taken the overall top prize.

The transition to a new sponsor is not unprecedented. Booker did so in 2002 when it handed over sponsorship to the Man Group, a City investment firm.

The Whitbread Book Awards give £5,000 to the winners in five categories: Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry, and Children's Book, plus an overall prize worth £25,000.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup