Books: Cover Stories

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
IN BRITISH literary life, the David Cohen British Literature Prize is unique. At pounds 30,000, it is the richest but it is also the only prize given for a lifetime's marathon rather than a one-book sprint. This year the Prize went to William Trevor - properly known as William Trevor Cox, according to his friend, the poet Anthony Thwaite. In a charming acceptance speech, Trevor traced his writerly beginnings back to primary school and recalled how, in a bookish household, his father acquired a complete set of Dickens with Sweet Afton cigarette coupons. With his audience's eyes already moist, he announced that he wanted the pounds 10,000 prize awarded by the Arts Council at the behest of each British Literature Prize-winner to go to "a young person in Omagh, Co Tyrone," who, having finished full- time education and shown talent and determination, "needs help at the most difficult stage of a writer's career, the beginning." Mo Mowlam sent a message from Washington, in appreciation of Trevor's warm-hearted bridge-building.

u

QUITE HOW Norman Mailer feels about it we can only guess, but his sixth wife is to make her debut as a novelist. Norris Church Mailer has written a thriller set in Arkansas during the Vietnam War. The Windchill Factor opens in a pickle plant, and will be published by Fourth Estate.

u

HAVING LOST its star turn, Sue Townsend, to Penguin, the venerable Methuen is to be reinvented under the direction of Max Eilenberg, the former Secker publisher whose authors included James Kelman and Roddy Doyle. The unwanted drama list having been bought from Random House, Methuen Publishing will now seek to expand back into the areas it left, acquiring `boisterous" and "edgy" fiction, and a wide range of non-fiction.

u

THIS AFTERNOON, a gap in literary life is filled when the new Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain holds its first meeting in Gordon Square. Similar societies long ago evolved in Japan, France and the US. The founders include Woolf's bibliographer, Stuart Clarke, and Paul Evans, a book dealer, and their aim is to "present Woolf in her true light as one of the greatest British authors of the 20th century." Further information: 01903 764655.

Comments