Thursday, July 19, 2007

Amidst all the chaos of flooding you may have heard the story about the man who plagiarised Jane Austen and that only one editor - Alex Bowler, assistant editor at Jonathan Cape and a very fine person indeed - appeared to have recognised the manuscript before him as a (slightly) revamped Pride and Prejudice. Much credit to him and also to his reader whose name escapes me but who Alex gave all due respect to in his Front Row interview last Thursday.

Putting aside debates about the value of the - so called - experiment (it is probably better described as an exercise in time wasting) to see if Austen would make the cut with the publishing houses of today, I would like to take this opportunity to raise yet another reason why you should all put those
Harry Potter books down and go out and buy yourself a copy of Tod Wodicka's All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well.

What is that reason? Alex Bowler (yes the very same Austen spotter) is the editor. And a wonderful job he has done with Wodicka's book too: here we have a good editor who can spot good literature when he sees it and doesn't like to see it messed around with.

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