Hatchet Job of the Year: More snark and more publicity

We live in an age where everyone is a critic

You can keep your Golden Globes – this week sees the unveiling of the shortlist that critics want to be on: the Hatchet Job of the Year, which pits contenders such as AA Gill (taking time out from not liking Mary Beard’s outfits to review Morrissey’s autobiography) against Rachel Cooke, who was similarly underwhelmed by Ann Widdecombe’s reminiscences.

The prize organisers reward wit and integrity, and tend to prefer those critics who tilt at the biggest windmills (Zoë Heller’s famous take-down of Salman Rushdie was unlucky not to win last year). But living as we do in an age where everyone is a critic and can prove it with wit, intergrity and succinctness on Twitter, I can’t help but think I’d prefer a prize which valued the lauding of an obscure or overlooked work – uninfluenced by shared agents, publishers  or beds – instead  of more snark, and more publicity for household names.

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