The Feral Beast: spoils divided at 'Private Eye

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The Independent Online

A bittersweet victory for 'Private Eye' staffer Richard Brooks, winner of this year's Paul Foot award for campaigning journalism. He has had to share the £6,000 prize with 'Times' hackette Camilla Cavendish. The Beast hears some judges favoured an outright win for Brooks, but 'Eye' founder Richard Ingrams argued he shouldn't be in the running at all as the prize is co-hosted by 'Private Eye' (with 'The Guardian'). "I was the only judge who questioned its propriety," Ingrams tells me, denying the suggestion he blocked Brooks as sole victor. "There was a feminist movement afoot." Mysterious times.

Double trouble from Irving lapse

Oops. 'The Observer' has landed itself a steaming letter threatening legal action from historian David Irving, after describing him as a holocaust denier. Such missives from Irving are nothing new, but then again, neither was the story. 'The Jewish Chronicle' had run a piece about Irving being considered for 'Big Brother' three days earlier, a detail the Obs failed to mention.

Has Fort hung up his fork?

Whither Matthew Fort? The star food writer at 'The Guardian' appears to have ceased filing his column Around Britain With a Fork, and whispers reach me it's not coming back. The Old Etonian has been keeping busy outside the Graun recently – he has published a book, is a judge on the BBC's 'Great British Menu', and recently interviewed the Prince of Wales, a neighbour in the country, for UKTV. But it seems his gastro tour of Britain is over, for now. Shame.

Playwright's very significant other

How did the 'Evening Standard' land an exclusive from playwright Roy Williams? Doubtless it helped that his play, 'Days of Significance', has been – rightly – nominated as best play in the 'Evening Standard' theatre awards. He was also listed in the London daily's list of 1,000 influential people. Perhaps his piece was commissioned over breakfast: Williams lives with arts editor Fiona Hughes.

Optimism in the face of the axe

Among the latest casualties at the 'Evening Standard' was fragrant reporter Elizabeth Hopkirk. But does she know something? Colleagues sending emails of condolence were surprised to get the automatically generated reply: "I will be out of the office and will not return until 03/06/2010. I will respond to your message when I return." We applaud such optimism.

Kennite conundrum

Secretive bachelor Andrew Gilligan announces he has a partner. But a partner in what – tennis, tiddlywinks, trampolining? The news was broken in a blog defending himself against the accusation of "sockpuppeting" – leaving posts under an alias. Gilligan insists he is not "kennite", but that "kennite is my partner". The mystery "kennite" has been leaving posts which some say could only come from Gilligan, adding further confusion. So come on Andy, who is it?