The End of the Whitbread Award

The Whitbread Award, which has in the past honored the work of writers like Kazuo Ishiguro, Kate Atkinson, Seamus Heaney and Andrea Levy, has lost its sponsor. The reason:

One of the literary world’s most prestigious prizes is looking for a sponsor after Whitbread pulled out of the awards it has funded since 1971. The company, once Britain’s best-known brewer, has decided literature does not fit with its status as a wide-ranging leisure conglomerate.(…) A spokeswoman for Whitbread said the decision would officially be announced this week.

“We no longer sell products or services that carry the Whitbread brand, so it is no longer appropriate to fund an award to promote the Whitbread name,” she said.

Says the Lit Saloon: “This is the obvious problem with including a sponsor’s name in a prize-name and not getting any sort of real commitment from the money-givers.”

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