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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Leith’

Adam Mars-Jones Wins Hatchet Job of the Year Award

Last night Adam Mars-Jones won the Hatchet Job of the Year award, celebrated for writing the “angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review published in a newspaper or magazine in 2011.”

Follow this link to read Mars-Jones’ scathing review of By Nightfall that earned a golden hatchet and “a year’s supply of potted shrimp.” British journalists Rachel Johnson, Suzi Feay, Sam Leith and D.J. Taylor judged the competition. At this link, you can read all the shortlisted Hatchet Job of the Year reviews.

Leith explained why they chose the review: “Mars-Jones’s review of Michael Cunningham had everything a reader could hope for in a hostile review. It was at once erudite, attentive, killingly fair-minded and viciously funny … Every one of his zingers – ‘like tin-cans tied to a tricycle;’ ‘it seems to be the prestige of the modernists he admires, rather than their stringency;’ ‘that’s not an epiphany, that’s a postcard’ – is earned by the argument it arises from. By the end of it Cunningham’s reputation is, well, prone.”

 

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Penguin Going to Court on Plagiarism Charges

The long and grinding wheels of justice are finally about to find fruition in court, as literary editor Sam Leith reports on his blog for the Daily Telegraph. Back in 1994, Stu Silverstein decided to put together a miscellany of Dorothy Parker‘s uncollected verse. He selects and edits the book himself, gives untitled poems titles and does all the other things associated with editing a volume of poetry. After a round of submission to publishers, Penguin‘s offer comes in at $2000 and unsatisfied, Silverstein goes with Scribner. The book is published as NOT MUCH FUN.

Which is an apt descriptor of what happens next, for when Penguin’s Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker appears, the Uncollected section is essentially a verbatim copy of Silverstein’s book – down to editing errors and the titles he gave untitled poems. There’s not a whisper of attribution, either, says Leith, even though one of Penguin’s editors later tells the court she, quite literally, photocopied NOT MUCH FUN in preparing Penguin’s edition. A lawsuit is filed, and there’s much back and forth over the next 13 years, with Silverstein winning most of the battles but losing the most recent in the Court of Appeals.

And so, on July 17 at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse here in Manhattan, Silverstein will indeed have his day in court as his lawyers and Penguin’s face off in front of Judge John F. Keenan.