Everybody probably already knows about this, but...

The Whitbread is no more.

From The Guardian:

Whitbread disposed of their brewing interests in 2000. They now project themselves as a multinational "leisure interest" business. They sell hospitality. Their house is your house. In line with their shiny new corporate personality, they have also decided to get out of books - or, at least, shift on to other, more willing shoulders the burden of giving £5K and £25K to the country's worthiest and neediest authors.

It can't be the meagre cost of running the awards. It's just that literary prizes don't fit with what Whitbread now does. Reading is not a sexy leisure activity, like banging a squash ball about in one of the company's David Lloyd clubs. It's slow, private and often difficult. You can't read and do hospitality.

Books, NewsLeila RoyComment