Letter: Boys' club

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The Independent Online
IN A review of Martin Amis's new collection of journalism ('Bad habits in good company', Review, 3 October) Hermione Lee tells us that the 1989 'women judges . . . refused his novel London Fields a place on a Booker shortlist on grounds of its violent anti-female pornography'.

As one of those two female judges, I am surprised to discover it was that simple. I was under the impression that I judged London Fields to be deeply flawed as a book, overlong and rather out of control, though sometimes very funny. Nor did I realise that a place on the Booker shortlist was booked for Amis in advance, and then unjustly refused.

Every year I am startled to read in the press that a little group of writers, nearly always famous, usually male, had priority bookings on the Booker shortlist, but were let down at the last minute by irresponsible judges. I propose that in future all judges of literary prizes should be forced to pay proper attention to the literary pages of newspapers. Then the deafening sound of sycophancy to the most flawed works of established metropolitan authors will soon wipe out the last traces of independent thought, and assure us a predictable set of prize-winners. Bad luck on the talented but not yet famous, though.

Maggie Gee

London NW10