Triumphant Bainbridge enunciates her mind
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Wednesday 03 March 1999
First, she called for elocution lessons to be made compulsory in schools. In case that was not politically incorrect enough, Ms Bainbridge then guaranteed the wrath of her home city.
Although she is one of Liverpool's most famous daughters, the 64-year- old writer and former actress urged that all young people from the city endeavour to lose the Liverpool accent, which she described as "nasal" and "stupid".
Exuberant at winning the pounds 10,000 WH Smith Literary Award for her novel Master Georgie after missing out on the Booker and Whitbread prizes, Ms Bainbridge nevertheless played down both the value of book prizes and the love of reading in Britain.
Receiving her prize from the Arts minister Alan Howarth, who is promoting the Government's "Year of Reading", she said that she did not believe that the percentage of the population now reading novels was much greater than it was in Dickens' time.
"Sometimes I wonder whether I'm being given prizes at my age out of sympathy or pity ... I'm rather fortunate that all these things that are happening to me in the last two or three years are happening late enough for me not to take them too seriously," she said
Speaking later, she explained why she did not take book prizes too seriously, and did so with a reasoning unlikely to be endorsed by Mr Howarth, her home city or the nation's largest bookseller, which was giving the prize.
She said: "I'm not sure that prizes have a great deal of effect on the majority of people, but then the majority of people are uneducated.
"When I grew up in Liverpool in the Forties, I was in the Young Communists League at the age of 12, and it was people who were interested in politics who encouraged me to read.
"What would help England now would be to have elocution lessons in all schools. I had elocution lessons from the age of 11. I went with Jean Alexander [who played Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street] and they help you, not just to speak, but to enjoy language and reading. The uneducated now cannot spin out a sentence. You cannot have an education system that works for the majority if you publish a newspaper like The Sun."
As part of her drive for elocution for all, she advocated that Liverpudlians should lose their accent. "It's not a dialect," she said, "it's nasal, and that's what they should get rid of. My father didn't have that stupid Liverpool accent.
"Have you ever listened to them on Brookside? They don't speak the English language."
Mr Howarth said that he had been delighted to present Ms Bainbridge with her cheque and noted that it had been an excellent lunch.
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Meet Thea, Norway's 12-year-old child bride
- 5 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: Olympic star must serve 10 years, prosecutor urges
Isis fighters 'crucify' 17-year-old boy in Syria
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said The outstandin...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...