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Would You Let Lily Allen Judge Your Literary Prize?

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The organizers of the Orange Broadband Prize, Britain’s top literary award for female authors, would! Singer-songwriter Allen, along with the more traditional judges — novelist Philippa Gregory, writer Bel Mooney, and Guardian Review editor Lisa Allardice — will need to read 30 books in the first round, and then more books once the long list is complete. Needless to say, the readers’ comments on this report have been outraged, peeved, and totally, totally British.

O tempora! O mores! In an age where the Hertfordshire NHS Trust are prepared to allow Peter Doherty to perform open heart surgery on an eight year old boy as a publicity stunt, Noel Fielding was voted above William Shakespeare on the influential ‘Bloke I’d most like to shag’ list by a committee of Lincolnshire schoolgirls, and the institution of slavery has been abolished in all but the most enlightened countries, what are WE to make of that voluptuous songstrel Lily Allen being appointed as a judge to the highest court in the land: the court of Literature and Art? —Guardian reader “liberaldogooder”

I despair at the particularly British habit of equating snobbery with intellectual ambition. Applying yourself to understanding how others have approached writing or achieved high standards in any other field is not snobbery. It is simply respect for others and a desire to do things well. This habit of automatically calling people who do make this effort snobs is a form of inverted snobbery. —Guardian reader “blancmange”

I don’t get the fuss. She’s an upper-middle class public-school educated North-London dwelling slip of a girl. Perfect for the publishing world. —The Bookseller reader “Keith”

’Passionate reader’ Lily Allen joins Orange prize judges [Guardian]
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Would You Let Lily Allen Judge Your Literary Prize?