Media: Zeitgeist - Orange Prize for Fiction gets ready for its annual party of controversy with literature, Friday, 04 June 2004 12:00AM

The jury is still out (as is the awards judging panel as it happens) on the status of the Orange Prize for Fiction in the literary calendar.

Do gender politics of this sort have any place in the arts?

Anyhow, this is an award for fiction written only by women - and partially thanks to its largesse (the winner walks away with £30,000 and a bronze figurine called Bessie sculpted by Grizel Niven, the elder sister of David Niven - not that you absolutely had to know that) the prize has been acquiring an increasingly high public profile. The odd bit of behind-the-scenes controversy over the years hasn't gone amiss either. All of which is nice for its sponsor.

Better-known authors on this year's shortlist include Margaret Atwood and Rose Tremain. The ceremony will take place next week in a marquee by the National Theatre. The chairwoman of the judging panel this year is Sandi Toksvig.

The prize for fiction is Orange

Ceremony taking place on 8 June

In a big tent on The South Bank

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