Entertainment & Arts

Literature Prize secures sponsorship deal

The organisers of new book award, the Literature Prize, have announced it has found a sponsor and will hand out its first accolade in 2014.

The identity of the sponsor will be revealed in February 2013, when the prize will take the sponsor's name.

Spokesman Andrew Kidd said the £40,000 prize-money "signified the seriousness" of the award.

The annual prize will be for a work of fiction written in the English language published in the UK.

"We expect to make this prize a significant initiative that has a real place in the cultural landscape," Mr Kidd, a literary agent, told the BBC on Tuesday.

The formation of the prize was announced in October 2011 amidst criticism about the decision by Man Booker judges that year to focus on "readability".

"It really has has nothing to do with the Booker," said Mr Kidd. "I hope we can have a very happy complimentary co-existence."

The £50,000 Man Booker Prize is open to writers from the UK, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland, while the Literature Prize has no restriction on a writer's country of origin, nor on the genre of the works considered.

Mr Kidd said: "The measure of success will be if this prize has public impact - if it becomes one of those few prizes that actually connects books and writers with readers."

The announcement that a sponsor has been secured follows the news in October that the Women's Prize for Fiction - formerly known as the Orange Prize - would by funded privately in 2013 while the search continued for a new sponsor.

Cherie Blair, entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox and author Joanna Trollope are among those helping to fund the £30,000 prize in 2013.

Mr Kidd said: "At a time when there's not a lot of sponsorship forthcoming, we've been extraordinarily fortunate in finding a sponsor who I think everyone will feel is a terrific fit.

"We are only being mysterious about the identity because we want to make sure everything is completely lined up before we do the full-scale launch."

He said work was under way to establish the academy of writers and critics from which five judges will be drawn every year.

The first Literature Prize will be awarded in March 2014 for books published between January and December 2013.

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