These awards were held this week and broadcast on TV yesterday. They proved to be rather more populist than the average literary awards , categories and results are here http://www.britishbookawards.co.uk/bba/pnbb_shortlist.asp? .

Most award shows bore me rigid, but I was curious, knackered and needed a cup of tea so I watched them. The format was as per usual:  authors – the nominees, minor celebrities  – Chantelle from Big Brother; egotistical presenters – Richard and Judy. The show went to plan – nominees announced, shots of nominees smiling, winner announced, losers smiling , winner gets award,and any interesting speech being cut for the TV format, apart from Alan Bennett complaining that whenever he mentions anything from the past in his books he is inundated with letters giving him more information than it is decent to know on the subject!

However, the best bit came with the award for “novel of the year”. When Piers Morgan heard the winner was “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” instead of smiling graciously in defeat he mouthed into the camera the word  “Why?”  Sore loser!!

Whatever you think of Richard and Judy they , or rather Amanda Ross their executive producer  who picks the books for their book club, are the most influential people in British book publishing. Proportionately they have more influence than Oprah Winfrey, who had  the original idea,  in the States.
http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/printarticle.php?id=7337

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