Rowling and McEwan prizes

Dave Lull has just sent me a link to an article on the BBC website reporting that  "Harry Potter author J K Rowling has been named greatest living British writer in a magazine poll." Which magazine? The Book Magazine, of which I have never heard. JKR obtained three times as many votes as the second author, Terry Pratchett. Next were Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Philip Pullman, Harold Pinter, Nick Hornby, A S Byatt and, in a 10th-place tie, Jonathan Coe and John Le Carre. Zadie Smith (who has just won the Orange prize for fiction) came in at no. 33.

None of the many media sources and blogs reporting this award links to The Book Magazine, and a Google search reveals only one magazine with that title, which ceased publishing in 2003. Strange and mysterious.

Ian McEwan has just won the James Tait Black memorial prize for fiction for Saturday, not one of his stronger books in my opinion, but very good indeed. (I preferred Atonement of McEwan’s more recent novels.)

I don’t know how the J K Rowling prize came about – who voted, etc — but I think it is great. She is a wonderful author. I am also delighted for Ian McEwan. Both novelists write books that people, not least me, really enjoy reading. You see people on the train and the tube all the time reading their books. I have already seen some sneering articles and posts about these particular awards for these particular authors, which I think are misguided.

Thank you, Dave, as ever, for the link.

6 thoughts on “Rowling and McEwan prizes

  1. I’m afraid you and I are going to have to disagree, cordially of course, about Rowling. However I will freely admit that some – though not all – of my feelings have to do with the number of times the tapes have been played in my house, car, etc!

  2. Who are these voters and when/how were they canvassed? This is like those channel five 100 best whatever ever shows that are so utterly tedious (but somehow insanely gripping). Although they have been a wonderful resource for my cultural education in Britain, I always wonder who the people are that supposedly voted for the 100 best whatevers. V. annoying as it all seems so ropey and patronising – like being told what to think.

  3. The Book Magazine is a new magazine, available from local independent bookshops. I have the first one (issue 1, spring 2006) and I presume issue 2 has just come out.
    The last time I looked at their website (and I just checked again to make sure) they still hadn’t updated to show the results of the poll. I have to say that I was underwhelmed by the first issue of the magazine and I’m not imressed with their website since they can’t even bother to update it!

  4. Thanks for coming over, Maureen, and for the info. I’ve just read your posting on Bookglutton as well.
    Dave emailed me the link earlier, as well as posting it in these comments, so I’ll paste in my reply to him, as it is pretty similar to what Maureen is saying:
    Thanks, I have checked out the site and actually subscribed as it is only £9.50 a year for four issues. The first issue was March, apparently. Hope they make it to 4 issues, though! I tried their “stockists” lists and there is no stockist in my area, which considering I live in London is a bit ominous.
    They certainly need to get their Google keywords sorted out, and put the link to their site on their press releases, as they aren’t going to reap much reward from the publicity of their survey— nobody will be able to find the magazine (except you!).
    James, yes, know what you mean but I just wanted to say something nice about JKR and Ian McE as so many people are mean about them.
    And Lee, I know exactly what you mean. Ever thought of headphones?;-)

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