Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last Thursday seems years ago - I have a dim memory of being in a sleep deprived state as an event manager at Cheltenham Literature Festival. At some point while deciding whether to have a scone (staple festival diet seems to be scones and apples) with or without cream, Cheltenham Festivals' Press Co-ordinator wandered up to me and informed me that they needed to steal Anne Enright away from me, and therefore her sound check because the BBC wished to interview her. I assumed this was some sort of pre-Booker publicity, and was quickly informed that no, it was not, in fact it was because we had just been informed that Doris Lessing had (about time too) been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and Enright was to be giving a response on the 10 o'clock news. So a hasty sound check was completed and Enright was whisked away and I was left to contemplate my scone. Meanwhile everyone else was having fun with the setup for Margaret Atwood's LongPen (which has also been called The Evil Claw) satellite link from Canada.

Between LongPens and Nobels; blocked loos and power cuts; it went entirely unnoticed by the gather literary types that AL Kennedy (sadly not programmed for this year's festival - I live in hope for 2008) had been awarded the Österreichische Staatspreis für Europäische Literatur (Austrian State Prize for European Literature). So not everyone has heard of it, and at €25,000 it isn't huge like, say the IMPAC or the Nobel, or the Booker, however it has a rather grand sounding title and you'd think that there might be some tiny mention of it somewhere in a British newspaper? Wouldn't you?

I've not paid any proper attention to this year's Booker Prize, but I'm going to say that I hope Anne Enright does win. I've only read Enright's The Gathering and McEwan's On Chesil Beach so have limited basis for any informed judgment. What I really hope is that On Chesil Beach does not win. It is usually broadcast on the 10 o'clock news, but I'll probably be asleep by then...

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