Competitions nos. 128A and 128B: results

A new judge, Theodora Bosanquet, arrives. Born in 1881 (she died in 1962), she was principally known as Henry James’ secretary/ amanuensis in the last years of his life, about which she wrote (he talked; she typed). She has a pot-shot at the advertising industry by asking for copy (75 words) to advertised all of the following: hair tonic, a cigarette, a breakfast cereal. She was looking for the ‘mnemonic properties of the names I was to find unevictably lodged in my mind’. Hmm, guess that’s what happens to your prose style if you work for HJ. She likes William Bliss’s suggestion for hair tonic (‘Beaverine’, because the beaver never sheds its fur) …

Pibwob makes a rare (possibly accidental) appearance under his real name, L.F.Goldsmid, but at the top of the queue of stragglers are George T. Hay (no victory yet, but perhaps one will turn up), Rathkey, Ellerington, Upward, and new runners-up, Joseph H. Goodfellow and C.A.S.Ducker. But the winners are W. Hodgson Burnet and Seacape.

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The B competition is to write a poem – a lyric – on the text “One was asked ‘What is Hell?’ And he answered ‘It is Heaven – that has come too late.” The more I think about this, the more it seems like an incomprehensible idea. T.E. Casson writes a decent poem, as does Seacape, but Marion Peacock is the only winner (more evidence of the fragility of the B competition, which is now restricted to one prize more often than not – or cancelled). Peacock is advised to work on the second half if she wants to see it published elsewhere.

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