Thursday, June 07, 2007


One reason given for the Orange Prize was that it would give an opportunity for the type of books that women wrote and read to be valued. Men, it seemed took on big subjects like war, and these were the kind of books that won prizes. Interesting that this year's Orange winner is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with her novel about the Biafran war. Already a bestseller, whatever one thinks of the Orange Prize, its undoubtedly a weighty prize these days, with a highly competitive shortlist.

Having a conversation with someone last night I started talking about a couple of interesting issues. Firstly, under the guises of "simplifying" our communication large corporations are increasingly looking at "controlling" how we contact each other in a work context - e.g. through all our phone/email numbers being centrally managed and being rung/sent simultaneously, and connecting us to whichever one we pick up first. I can see why corporates would want such a level of control, but I think we'll resist it. Increasingly our identity is becoming a precious commodity which we choose how we "distribute" - different emails/numbers for different purposes. Personalisation when it is mentioned by the corporates means selling to us personally - for us, I think its about choosing how our identity is communicated to. We can give permission - but also remove permission. But linked to this, I realised that for all the talk about "globalisation" and the speed at which the internet allows messages to be passed around, in an organisation or a community the knowledge is held, not at the centre but at the edges - and those of us on the edges are rich in knowledge BECAUSE we make connections with other communities. Therefore, in literature terms, probably the publishers (see post below on poetry) or critics or editors are actually a long, long way from the richest nodes of knowledge. I need to think about this more - and sure there's probably a "term" for it - but I think its true. True decentralisation is like during the Fall of Rome - the centre no longer holds.

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