Whitbread breaks its ties with £25,000 book prize
Monday 12 December 2005
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 The company has decided that its link with the literary world is outdated, and is in negotiations with four companies to find a replacement sponsor.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.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Isis flag: What do the words mean and what are its origins?
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Poldark finale review: Not even the 'putrid throat' and tragedy to stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender hints showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Amy: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' Amy Winehouse film as it scores the highest ever UK opening for a British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts