Pandora: A triumph of form over content?

An unexpected spat has broken out amongst the literati of Wales. Tessa Dahl, pictured, the statuesque mother of Sophie and daughter of Roald, is engaged in a harsh exchange of words with the organisers of the world's richest literary award, The Dylan Thomas Prize.

This year's round of the competition, which celebrates authors under the age of 30, was launched this week in the United States to coincide with St David's Day. Unusually, writers may receive nominations irrespective of their discipline, be that poetry, short stories, novels or scripts – a characteristic that has left Dahl sceptical of the ceremony's merit.

"Whatever your metier is, you'll think yours is the best," she observes. "A poet of course will think poetry ought to win, and a novelist will think their form is best."

It's not an assessment that has pleased the award's organisers. "Our judges seek excellence," observes Peter Stead, chairman of the Prize, in response. "It would be a poor critic indeed who stood out for their own form of writing in the face of true quality in another genre."

Ms Dahl's criticisms, of course, are something of an irony: her grandfather famously dabbled in all of the competition's categories.

Lemar and Lembit head to head

As promised, Lembit Opik, Stephen Pound and Nigel Evans took to the stage on Wednesday night alongside Opik's former squeeze, model Katie Green, for the Parliamentary Palace of Varieties – the Commons "talent" show in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Alas, we fear they may not have been the star attraction. For, in a nearby room, the Brit award-winning singer Lemar could be found performing before an audience including Mark Ronson and Sugababes to raise awareness of the anti-piracy Creative Coalition Campaign. Diary clash?

The kids are (still) alright

News, now, to cheer those fearing Pete Townshend's retirement from The Who – if not the deglamorising effects of age. The guitarist, who only recently revealed the threat his mounting tinnitus poses to his performing career, claims to have found a new lease of life thanks to – rock'n'roll purists look away now – a hearing aid. "I feel as though I've been reborn in some ways," he reveals on his blog, alongside dissections of his hair loss and laundry habits. "Not everything I hear is worth hearing, but at least I don't have to turn the TV down in order to tell everyone in the room that what they are watching is rubbish. On a higher note, hearing birdsong again is pretty amazing." All together now: talking 'bout my g-g-g-generation...

Archer still got the X Factor?

Who would have thought it? The Tory peer and one-time prisoner Jeffrey Archer appears to be nurturing a budding friendship with reality TV-born boy band JLS. Just a day after one of the four-piece revealed – thrillingly – to The Sun that he enjoyed nothing better than a night in the esteemed company of Kane and Abel, Archer offers to dispatch a complementary volume of the famous tome to the group – a signed copy, no less. All in the "giving" spirit of World Book Day, apparently. Warms the cockles, doesn't it?

Keep calm and carry on

What's this? A lone voice of dissent amongst the celebrity clamour to save the BBC's endangered radio station, 6 Music – from none other than Mathew Horne, star of Gavin and Stacey and, latterly, DJ. "To be quite honest I think we need to wait and find out what the deal is," an (unexpectedly) prudent Horne told us at the launch party for the Nokia X6. "Until everyone knows the facts, I don't think we can really comment. There's a lot of hysteria surrounding it and we should all just calm down and see what happens." Quite so.

pandora@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there