Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Usual Suspects

I'd forgotten Nesta's short story prize almost as soon as it was announced, because it seemed to be offering nothing more than a "beauty contest" for established prom queens, and so, it seems, that has come to pass, with William Trevor, James Lasdun, Rose Tremain and Michael Faber on the 5 person shortlist. I'm sure they're all fine, and good luck to Rana Dasgupta in such distinguished company. The reason I lost interest as soon as the prize was announced was because it wasn't clear what "record of publication" actually meant - and whether publication in such a small magazine as our own would count. I hardly want to bother mentioning the prize really. I'm impressed that they got such a distinguished list from 1400 entries or so; I wonder if they were anonymously judged? I like James Lasdun's fiction, and he's a writer's writer more than a popular success, so I guess it would be good if he gained a little popularity out of it. Certainly at least 4 of those 5 writers could ring up the editor of Granta any day of the week and get a story placed there; and probably anywhere else as well; so I'm not sure that the prize actually "helps" the short story. I just hope the stories are good.


Elizabeth Baines said...

I have seen so little comment about this is in the press. I wonder if everyone's trying to ignore it, or if there's some sort of conspiracy not to criticise for fear of killing off the short story altogether? This is a great site, Adrian, I'm off to browse it now!

Adrian Slatcher said...

A rampaging Ra Page (www.commapress.co.uk) was quoted in Le Guardian http://tinyurl.com/jyqg4 -

Elizabeth Baines said...

Yes,he was, though the whole thing seemed to comment on the question of the familiarity of the authors rather than the more important question of familiarity of form, ie the kick in the face to innovation which the competition seems to be. I've been moved to start my own blog on the strength of this, and I hope you don't mind me quoting your post and using it as a springboard!