Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Every A.L. Has Her Day
Hello again, its been a while. Well, I've been busy, busy doing nothing, admittedly, but give an idle man a job etc. Anyway, I had to find time out to say "well done" to A. L. Kennedy for winning the Costa prize for her novel "Day." If it sometimes seems odd that we have all these different prizes named after coffee chains and wholesalers and the like, every now and then a winner pops up that kind of makes you glad they exist at all. "Day" hadn't appeared anywhere on my radar at all until it was named Costa's novel of the year, and now its won the main prize, ahead of small-press darling Catherine O'Flynn's "What was lost." In both ways they illustrate the nice thing about prizes - Kennedy, long feted, and one of contemporary literature's few intriguing characters in her own right (what other serious writer would have started doing stand up comedy?) on the one hand; and on the other O'Flynn, a debutant whose debut novel (set in the ever unfashionable West Midlands)has become such a word of mouth hit this year. So well done, Costa, though I doubt if even this will lure me away from Cafe Nero.