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Showing posts from December, 2016


Aside from our personal losses, 2016 was the year when everyone apparently began to socially mediate the death of beloved others - famous people known universally, or to many. No other year - not even 2001 - since the new century began, has been so reviled by those living in it. Fuck you 2016 was a common refrain.  The year almost became a running joke, coming to symbolise all that was mean, unfair, cruel and random about existence - it was the most existential year in decades. certainly, the death of so many talented, brilliant and creative persons underlined the compelling fact that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE, SOONER OR LATER, no matter what. So we better get right with ourselves, the world, and decide how best to deal with the fate we have been thrown - stoicism advised. Claims that no more well-known people died than usual this year are basically besides the point (THOUGH the BBC now reports 50% more celebrities died this year than in any other on record) - in the sense that it di


The Beverly Prize announces its winner for 2016 next week! This prize (named after an Irish-Canadian writer and book-lover) may be unique in the publishing world (you tell me) in that it is likely the most inclusive and open: Any nationality can enter; any age 18 or older; and you can enter (so long as it is mostly unpublished and original) ANY FORM OR GENRE of writing for consideration - from non-fiction to a novella, a short story collection, a novel, a play, a screenplay, a memoir, a biography, or a pamphlet or full collection of poetry. The only caveat, is it must be written in English. This year, we received a good number of entries - and after a good deal of hemming and hawing, re-reading and debating, the three editorial team judges ( Oliver Jones , Rosanna Hildyard , and Todd Swift) were able to cleave to a decision not to have a shortlist verging on the rather long, but still keep a wonderful range of voices, emphatically new and old, more and less established.


I have been leaving annual reports here since the first year of posts in 2005. I can't recall a stranger, more strong-tasting year, than this though. The current joke is "Fuck 2016". Indeed. I won't detain you with too many of my own personal experiences, achievements, blessings, in a year of madness and mass idiocy, and the rise of genuine evil - the year of Aleppo, the murder of Jo Cox , Brexit and Trump - the year we lost (my God!) Geoffrey Hill, Richard Adams, Carrie Fisher, the Greatest - Ali, George Martin, L. Cohen, Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman , Debbie Reynolds , and countless other beloved actors, comedians, icons, and friends. On top of this general sadness, general as the snow in Joyce , we lost Chris Moore , a young writer in his 30s, just as he signed his Eyewear book deal. His debut became posthumous. Awful. Then, more recently, a dear friend's wonderfully-vibrant 18-year-old daughter died in a car accident - days before Christmas.  Hell