This is an Open University research project, and the aim is to chronicle the origins and development of the (‘Literary’ or ‘Weekend’) competitions that have appeared in New Statesman since January 1934, although, as you’ll see when you read the History section, New Statesman – at that point New Statesman and Nation, as it would remain until 1964 – actually took over an existing competition at about the two hundredth competition mark. The competitions had started in March 1930 in The Week-end Review, a short-lived weekly edited by Gerald Barry. New Statesman absorbed The Week-end Review and took on its subscribers – and retained two features that remain in New Statesman for well over 80 years: ‘This England’ and the competitions themselves. ‘This England’ persists. The competitions, alas, have been placed on hold, possibly forever, or until the NS can afford more pages, as of the last issue of December, 2016. The final competition was numbered 4448.
This is a developing web-site, and the speed at which it develops may depend on the response to it. You’ll see that I am looking to provide information, not just about the competitions, but the entrants, the entries, and the judges, too. I’m interested in biographical information as well as contextual information. There’s a blog to chart the progress – and to give you a chance to respond.
The research also aims to look at the many satirical poems that have been published in New Statesman over its one hundred years of existence (2013 was its centenary year). So in time, there should be sections on ‘Sagittarius’ (Olga Katzin) and Roger Woddis, among others – there have been at least five ‘regular’ satirical poets – including me.
I hope you enjoy the trip …
N.B. This project is currently paused while I write a book (unrelated), but I will return to it in early 2017. Thanks for your patience.