Fantasy Booker

At a recent library discussion on writing with Caroline Moorehead and Claude Harz, they suggested that we write a review of our next(unwritten or unfinished)book. I thought of going one further and writing a Booker Prize acceptance speech. It might come in handy one day.
Late Autumn’s the time for a spate of literary awards. For several years we saw the Booker Prize being televised, a glittering dinner of the great and the good in London’s Guildhall, filmed lovingly right until the last moments as the tables were left with crumpled napkins and discarded wineglasses.
Each year I was puzzled at the format of the acceptance speeches and, indeed, the entire construct of the proceedings.
Here is my acceptance speech for when that great day comes –
“It is usual to thank agents and editors at this point. But they were only doing their job and being paid for it. No winning author has ever bothered to thank the people hidden lower down the scale in the publishing world, the unseen workers far away from the glamorous end of the spectrum.
So, here are thanks to the bookshop assistants, whose feet hurt at the end of the day; to the van-drivers who carry loads of books from one point to another; to the lorry-drivers who deliver bales of paper to printers;to print workers who work among the noise of incessant machines; many of these people are on shift work. There are so many other workers underpinning this writers’ heaven.
And it is never questioned what the winning writer does with the money. Do they really need thousands of ££££s? For most of the time,they work indoors,sitting down,listening to radio, to music,drinking tea or coffee. There is no danger in the actual daily work of writing.
Where is the prize for bus drivers, window cleaners,factory workers,hospital cleaners, scaffolders, early-morning office cleaners – all far more necessary workers and many facing strain or difficulty on a daily basis?
The prize-money shall go, half to the homeless via the Salvation Army. I shall go into their offices and chase up where the money actually goes and see it does not get chewed up in internal costs.
And the other half shall go
to that most unglamorous of all organisations – Campaign Against the Arms Trade. I don’t know who or where they are; probably above a launderette in Walthamstow.
I have a home to go to and other books to write.This gathering of highly intelligent people has a duty to the society we all live in and a duty to change its present shape.By accepting large prizes we just prolong the present unfairnesses as if we were mere barbarians.

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