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Archive for April, 2011

What the Poet Laureate is for

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Saturday’s Guardian published a poem by Carol Ann Duffy in which she hits back (with a little help from Louis MacNeice’s Bagpipe Music) at the recently announced cuts in Arts Council funding. This would be cheering enough in itself: a Poet Laureate defending poetry, instead of writing pointless verses for pointless royal occasions. A sample:

It’s no go the pamphlet, the gig in Newcastle no go.
All we want is a context for the National Portfolio.

Three little presses went to market, Flambard, Arc and Salt;
had their throats cut ear to ear and now it’s hard to talk.
They remember Thatcher’s Britain. Clegg-Cameron’s is worse., the least of which is verse.

That’s what we call ‘going out in a blaze of glory’, I suppose; but not going out would be better still…

The other award

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

For over fifty years the Crime Writers’ Association has been awarding its Daggers for the best crime writing of the year. Of late this has been a glittering occasion, with high profile guests, champagne and television cameras in attendance. But the CWA has another, less public, award, given for services to the CWA itself. In autumn 2007 it presented this award, then known as the John Creasey (after the CWA’s founder) to Nicholas Rhea, the author of the books behind the Heartbeat tv series, to mark his retirement after twenty years as Convenor of the Association’s Northern Chapter (read the full story on Nicholas Rhea’s website).

Roger Cornwell and Jean Rogers were presented with a Red Herring award by Tom Harper, retiring Chair of the CWA

This was not at all on my mind last Sunday, when Roger and I went to Darlington to talk the the Crime Writers’ Association conference. We were simply keen to take advantage of the conference being held at a location which was convenient for us, to talk to members about how they could use the promotional features of the website, and to hear from them what more they would like it to offer. We were surprised and thrilled when Tom Harper, retiring Chair of the CWA, presented us with our very own Red Herring, as the award is now known – and if you look at the picture, you’ll see why.

Thank you to Tom and all at the CWA; we are delighted that you are pleased with our work, and you could not have found a nicer way of saying so. And thank you to Claire McGowan, the CWA’s new Director, who took the picture.

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