Saturday, July 21, 2007

Jack Mapanje or Boris Johnson?

Well, who would you choose?

Ms Baroque was lamenting the lack of coverage given to the Forward Poetry Prize nominations by bookshops and newspapers and I replied with a few dimly formed ideas. But when I looked at the Bloodaxe site, particularly their speel on Jack Mapanje (whose book, Beasts of Nalunga, is one of the Best Collection nominees), I begin to get the picture.

From that, here’s what Bloodaxe report on the Jack Mapanje feature from The Times:

The main feature was dropped from the paper, but the full story from Dalya Alberge can be found on the on-line version of The Times.

And here’s what they report concerning the feature in The Guardian:

Due to extensive news coverage of four Russian diplomats being expelled, plus Boris Johnson’s decision to stand as Mayor of London, all coverage of the Forward Prizes was dropped from the paper. However, the piece by John Ezard can be found on Guardian Unlimited.

It’s all a question of priorities. A right-wing buffoon entering the race for Mayor of London appeared more important to these newspapers than the poetry of a former political prisoner and dissident. The Times and The Guardian can share the blame, but it’s good to know that we can also blame the pathetic Boris Johnson. Anyone who votes for him needs his/her head examined.


RcL said...

Reluctantly, I'd put diplomatic events and even Boris ahead of a poetry prize shortlist for a daily newspaper. One problem is that, with three major prizes for poetry, all of which I value, the press's interest is diluted.

Interestingly, most specialist poetry publications only offer a passing mention to prizes and shortlists - prizes are very un-PC and have many detractors (not just those who have been missing in action!).

Harry said...

I bet they still found space for three pages of football coverage despite the fact that it's summer.

"Anyone who votes for him needs his/her head examined."

At least he's a step up from Jeffrey Archer. Now that was unforgivable.

Andrew Philip said...

"At least he's a step up from Jeffrey Archer."

Well yes, he's not a fraudster and perjurer but, nonetheless, you really have to wonder what the good people of Henley on Thames were ever thinking.

Rob said...

I think the diplomatic events and (even) Boris were certainly newsworthy, but I don't think the latter justified enough coverage to knock Jack Mapanje's story off the paper, especially as there will have been many other stories that didn't get dropped, as Harry points out.

I know prizes are un-PC, but the judging panel have this year cleverly chosen certain books that have good stories to go along with them.

And yes, I'd forgotten about Jeffrey Archer.