Friday, April 25, 2008

The Orwell Prize has been awarded

And it was won by Palestinian Walks by Raja Shehadeh. Comiserations Nick. Johann Hari won the journalism prize, so I suspect we will be hearing about that quite often going forward.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


4/25/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't they say something on the Today programme about Clive James winning a gong from the Orwell people? James' tone tends to be pretty Decent.

Marc Mulholland

4/25/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Yes, a special lifetime achievement award.

4/25/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James' tone tends to be pretty Decent.

But if anybody remembers him, it'll be for his TV criticism (and his memoirs).


4/25/2008 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

His TV criticism was great: he's the best ever in the field. But it was a very long time ago.

4/25/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of his book reviews were on a par with his TV columns (a strangely affectionate hatchet job on one of Judith Krantz's books).

I used to quite like CJ's lit crit stuff because it mixed big words with a down-to-earth tone, which is just what every pretentious 17-year old needs. As far as I know, he never called anyone a *horrorist* either.

Regarding the Decent mantle: it's surely interesting to note that James was banging on, sometimes not without point, about Zamyatin, Solshenitsyn, and, yes, Orwell some while before the likes of Hitchens and Amis Minor "discovered" that Nasty Things Happened in the SSSR. Though the old James would probably peg his current self as a bit Kingsley, he seems to have moved much less to the right than the Usual Decents.

4/25/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I think's that's largely true but he has adopted certain Decent intolerancies of late: I posted a BBC Online piece of his here just the other day in which he approved of the insistence that Muslims perform a will-you-condemn-a-thon and waved the "if you ask for this, you get called a racist!" flag.

I've also more than once drawn attention to a letter he wrote to the LRB against Zizek three years ago, in which to say that communism is not as bad as fascism is to be an apologist for Stalinism. It's a nasty letter, imputing opinions that clearly have not been expressed (and incidentally suffering from the sort of convoluted prose which suggests to me it was written in ager) and despite its professed attachment to liberalism there's nothing very liberal about it.

4/26/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that it really matters but I couldn't let any discussion about Clive James pass without pointing out that whatever his faults he is half of one of the finest songwriting teams that there has ever been. If you don't know about it check out

4/27/2008 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Indeed Dreadnought. I saw them together just over six years ago and they were very good. I even bought a book of his poems.

Not sure I like CJ much recently, but if he was better as a chippy young provincial with something to prove than he is as an 'established writer' that's not exactly a revelation.

He did rather waste himself on television. He was one of those people who could present the arts very well and wear his learning lightly. Instead, he gave us that Japanese torture show.

4/27/2008 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NC didn't win? Just goes to show that I am hopeless at predicting any damn thing.

I'll keep my intimations of things to come to myself from now on.

5/02/2008 02:33:00 PM  

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