Thursday, November 20, 2003

The evening's news 

Speaking of awards, Hari Kunzru has rejected the Llewellyn Rhys Prize awarded to him for his debut novel THE IMPRESSIONIST. Kunzru did not attend the ceremony today but his agent, Jonny Geller, read out a prepared statement, where he criticized the political stance of award sponsor the Mail on Sunday:

"Along with its sister paper the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday has consistently pursued an editorial policy of vilifying and demonising refugees and asylum-seekers . . . As the child of an immigrant I am only too aware of the poisonous effect of the Mail's editorial line. The atmosphere of prejudice it fosters translates into violence and I have no wish to profit from it."

The prize will be awarded to one of the remaining shortlistees, including Chloe Hooper and Sonya Hartnett.

The Man Booker Ceremony will have a new home next year, as they are done with the British Museum's acoustically challenged Great Court once and for all:

“To me," Martyn Goff said, "the Great Court is like the Millennium Dome – a brilliant idea and brilliant architecture, but no one had really worked out what is to be done with the place. The space there is vast – you have a couple of shops, a café, and then nothing."

Having been there several times, I have to agree. It's this great big expanse of--what, exactly? A lot of white. It just looks extremely uncomfortable and soulless. Not exactly architecture at its finest...

The second item in the article addresses criticism of the Booker having a longlist in the first place. From Viking Publishing Director Juliet Annan:

“I think it’s cruelty to authors. It’s one thing to find yourself not one of six, but it’s another, much more public humiliation, not to find yourself one of 26.”

Perhaps, but on the other hand, it's kind of fun to pick apart a longlist first, and then bet on who's going to make the shortlist.

The head of Bertelsmann, Gerd Schulte-Hillen, has resigned suddenly after 30 years with the parent company of, among other things, Random House.

The latest fad for crime and thriller writers is to make the jump to children's books. Carl Hiaasen did it with HOOT; Colin Bateman's RESERVOIR PUPS is just out in the UK (with a US release date to be announced) and Elmore Leonard's kiddie opus is expected next year. Now Andy McNab, "the father of SAS thrillers," has signed a deal to produce four teen novels (with the help of screenwriter Robert Rigby) for Doubleday, the first of which will be out in Spring 2005.

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