Thursday, 5 June 2008

‘A Granta for the MySpace Generation’ (Observer)

From Gladstone and Disraeli to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Last Friday, the latest of the museum’s Friday Lates events took place, hosted by literary magazine Bad Idea (and whose anthology we have just published). As well as the launch for the book, there were numerous happenings dotted around the museum organised by the editors, as well as a Question Time style panel which I found myself sat on. Alongside the extremely nice Mil Millington, Times Online Journalist Michael Moran and agent Charlie Campbell, I discussed and answered questions on publishing, the internet, and all things digital. Despite the breakneck enthusiasm for electronic books, my sense was that both the panel and the audience seemed more reserved about the whole thing. This was echoed in a recent Zogby poll that found that only 3% of Americans had a e-book reader, and only a further 4% were considering buying one in the near future.
The Bad Idea editors Jack Roberts and Daniel Stacey are the latest in a long line of that most important of literary institutions: the champions of new writing. These champions are to be cherished, and it felt fitting to me that among the many wonderful writers in the anthology, was another long standing champion, Nick Royle. Ten years ago this month, I was lucky enough to have my first ever piece of writing published in a similar anthology edited by Nick. So it was nice for me not only to be able to repay the favour, but to oversee the passing of the baton to the next generation of literary champions.

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