Competition no. 218: results

A return to the competition for John Moore. He reports the experience of receiving a letter from from an indignant male reader, who accuses him and his novel of ‘bare filth’ and ‘sensual garbage’ that is an ‘insult to the modern girl’. He has been advised that the book has been burned. How ought one to respond to such a letter?

James Hall proposes that he offers to charge him for a copy of his next novel, with all the objectionable bits marked up.  There are many names mentioned as runners-up, several familiar (Southron, W.E.B. Henderson, W. Leslie Nicholls, Marion Peacock, Allan M. Laing), but two notable. One is T.S. – Thomas Simons – Attlee (mis-spelt as Atlee); the other is W.A. Ismay. Tom Attlee (1880-1960) was the elder brother of Clement Attlee, with whom he had a lifelong correspondence – Tom was an architect, and had had a very different Great War – the elder boy had been a conscientious objector. Tom Attlee had also published a book called ‘Man And His Buildings’, an account of the influence of building on the working man’s experience. This was first published in 1919, but based on a talk he had done in 1914. The book was still being reprinted in the 1950s.

Tom Attlee

Tom, Laurence and Clement Attlee as children

W.A. Ismay – William Alfred – Ismay (known as Bill) was born in Wakefield in 1910, and died in 2001. He was a librarian who lived in a two-bedroom terrace in his home town, and accumulated no fewer than 3,500 pots, a collection that earned him the MBE in 1982, for services to studio pottery, of which he was an enthusiastic proselyte.


Bill Ismay

However, the winners are L.V.Upward and John Rutherford (a nice example of not using the words available):


Moore takes time at the end of his report to say how nice it is to see the Week-end Review crowd, noting in particular William Bliss and T.E. Casson, respectively memorable for adding footnotes, and for quoting from the Classics.