Baileys has become the new sponsor for the Women's Prize for Fiction, with the cream liqueur brand entering into a three-year partnership with the prize.
The £30,000 prize will be known as the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction from 2014.
Kate Mosse, chair of the Women's Prize for Fiction board, said a full programme of new activity with Baileys and joint plans for the prize will be revealed in the autumn.
She said: "We were delighted by the range of interest-and enjoyed meeting brands in various sectors-but in the end, the Women's Prize for Fiction board felt Baileys was the ideal choice as our new partners.
"We were impressed not only by the scale of their [Baileys'] ambition, but also their passion for celebrating outstanding fiction by women and willingness to help in bringing the prize to ever wider audiences."
Mosse told The Bookseller that the prize committee and Baileys will be "working together" over the summer "to see what we will plan for years one, two and three". She said: "Nothing has been decided and agreed as yet, but we also have ambitions for the prize and we want to grow the prize-we are looking to create new projects to support and extend it, as well as continue with existing ones".
She said part of the appeal of Baileys was that its parent company, Diageo, has "a great heritage" in sponsorship in the arts and global enterprizes, with its other brands having been involved with sponsoring the Turner Prize, Formula One and Madonna. Mosse said: "We wanted a brand that we knew had a really good heritage in arts sponsorship, and could deliver on a very high level and celebrate women all over the world."
The decision to keep "the Women's Prize for Fiction" within the name of the prize came from Baileys, who felt it was a real strength of the prize that it clearly celebrated women, she added.
Mosse said the prize committee had met with some 25 companies. "We did have a choice in the end and we are really grateful to everyone who got in touch," she said. "I can say we had interest from the sectors you would expect-so we had some conversations in the technology sectors, and those more closely linked to publishing and communications, as well as companies outside our business. The prize comes from the publishing industry, so we were interested in a brand fit from outside, that brings more interest and money into the industry."
Syl Saller, global innovation director at Baileys owner Diageo, said the partnership was a "true meeting of minds" and said: "The prize has really established itself within the world of literary culture as a wonderful platform for female talent and with this partnership we are committed to celebrating spirited women and their stories, which inspire and enrich lives around the world."
There willl be a Baileys bar serving cocktails at the awards ceremony for this year's prize on Wednesday (5th June). This year's shortlisted authors include Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel and Barbara Kingsolver.
Baileys succeeds Orange as the prize's title sponsor, with the technology brand sponsoring the prize from its launch in 1996 until 2012.
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