A spot of bad planning here. Last week we had Pope. This week we have Pope. That surely could have been avoided unless it’s a case of ‘No-one says ‘No’ to Naomi Royde-Smith‘. She asks for up to 21 lines (21! One competitor chides her for suggesting there could be a line over) by Pope on the premise that he has had lunch at the Ivy, and spent the afternoon round Covent Garden and Fleet Street with various editors and agents.
Royde-Smith is taking no prisoners here. Why do the entrants start writing before reading the instructions? Her brief report is a slightly cack-handed piece of disguised Pope:
Damon is the only recipient of any prize money:
The second competition, however, is, even allowing for the fact that Royde-Smith thinks it is, something of a success. Competitors are asked to come up with ‘six suggested improvements to the human frame’. She prints two winners, but also some of the other suggestions. One of these entrants is P.Y.Betts – Phyllis Yvonne Betts – then a short-story writer in her early twenties, but later to fade from view until 1989, when her memoir People Who Say Goodbye was published to considerable acclaim. (She had vanished, rather as Jean Rhys did, from sight – first to East Anglia, then to a secluded part of Wales.) There is a very good blog about her here.