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Book review: Lost for words by Edward St Aubyn

The truth about literary awards

By Lionel Shriver   219

Edward St Aubyn’s new novel is a satire on the world of literary prizes, but, says Lionel Shriver, it is a slight work by an accomplished writer. ©Janie Airey

Literary circles so routinely garner a reputation for back-biting, back-stabbing and back-scratching that it’s a wonder writers have any skin left below the shoulder blades. These same flayed specimens judge literary prizes, which have, in turn, garnered a reputation for caprice, corruption, arbitrariness, and an inbuilt propensity to crown the dread “compromise” candidate—everyone’s second choice on which…

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