Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Once again at last

My jaw cannot drop any further. Erica Wagner writes 'At last, a literary award where the consumer votes'. But imagine it has.

She's covering the Quills book awards in New York for the London Times. It's the usual stuff: celebrating the democracy of consumer choice; bemoaning the predictability of more established awards; charging the Booker, in particular, with elitism for not including Nick Hornby's latest confection (whether it's a good or bad book seems to be irrelevant; that it is popular is enough apparently).

She goes on: "there’s often a 'type' of Booker book. Literary critics, and panels of judges, have tastes, prejudices, opinions just like everyone else. Listen to them by all means, but trust your own opinions too. And if you can find a prize that enables you to do so, go and vote."

She's right of course, in the way advising us to breath in and out is right.

But a literary award already points beyond tastes, prejudices and opinions. It is an award for literary excellence. One can define literary. It is a 'type' of book. The question of the definition is the question begged by all of these interminable articles each proclaiming the end of the need to question.


  1. Anonymous11:35 pm

    And don't tell me that consumers do not have influence upon a prize like the Booker. Remember the disasterous sales of Kelman?

  2. Anonymous6:16 am

    the usual blather about awards when truly you might be writing wards, wards of mad and insane, as that is the real truth of wriitng and not this shit about excellence and the endless states of juried books and other babblelog. cheers.



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