Londoner Diary: People Still Snip, Founder Says Writers’ Prize

Britain’s top prize for writers of color is still under attack from part of the literary establishment, one of its founders has said.

“It comes in waves,” Professor Sunny Singh told the Londoner. “It started from the moment we announced it,” Singh explained, and said the “sniping” had not stopped yet. “Any growth and any change that we see seems very precarious.” The Jhalak Prize, created in 2016, has also been targeted by politicians. Tory MP Philip Davies wrote to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2017, saying it discriminates against white writers. The EHRC found no.

Despite the challenges, Singh told us, “Even though it’s bit by bit, I’m just happy that we can help enlighten these amazing literary producers. “

The fate of the auctioneer is unfortunate

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Malala Yousafzai

/ Getty Images

A blunder by auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen at a Cinderella gala benefiting the Malala Fund girls’ charity. Last night, Christie’s chief auctioneer, Pylkkanen, was selling a piece by ‘Afghan Banksy’ Shamsia Hassani, when he asked the ladies in attendance to ‘convince your partners’ to bid. There were murmurs before a woman cried out, “Maybe the ladies can do it themselves!” with loud cries. Madeleine Gurdon, wife of Andrew Lloyd Webber, made an offer to the delight of the crowd. The work sold for £ 21,000.

The Valkyrie bike ride

Rachel Nicholls

/ Rachel Nicholls

THE GLAMOR of opera is not all it is meant to be. After the performance of The Valkyrie last night, Rachel Nicholls, who plays the legendary German Princess Brünnhilde in the new English National Opera production, rejected a cab in favor of something less powerful. “And let’s go,” shouted colleague Matthew Rose as Nicholls pedaled a Brompton with a gigantic yellow bag on his back. Brünnhilde by bike – this must be Wagner’s Ring cycle.

Sharon Duncan-Brewster

/ Getty Images for Warner Bros

AN Eclectic Mix of Parties: Presenter Kate Silverton was at BFI Southbank to host the Tusk Conservation Awards. In Piccadilly, Dune star Sharon Duncan-Brewster joined her director for a screening of the film. And Bond star Colin Salmon was at home with his wife Fiona Hawthorne to celebrate his two new books.


DESPITE the scrutiny of second jobs at Westminster, it seems authorities are still relaxed about the details. The Londoner notes that in the update of the Members’ Interest Register, published a week ago, it is stated that it is correct “as of November 15, 2015” – only six years late. Not very reassuring, if we are honest.

SNP MP David Linden must find time to relax while juggling his political career with young children. “I have to make the conscious decision to go out and play with my Lego,” he told PoliticsHome. He adds, “My life is half in MP mode, half in Peppa Pig mode. Peppa Pig – so hot right now.

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