Monday, November 08, 2010


Just back from househunting in Northumberland to find that Christian Campbell has won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. I'd known a few days beforehand that I hadn't won. On Friday John O'Donoghue wrote a round-up of the shortlist for the Guardian blog. Here's what he had to say about The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street:

Tony Williams focuses on liminal areas, corners, fences, ring roads, bus routes between towns. I think when he's concise he's brilliant. Sometimes though, like the landscapes he describes, he can sprawl. But I think Williams is firmly in the line of English poets back to Betjeman, Housman, Hardy and beyond. A terrific collection.

The sprawl thing I can hardly deny – it's there, and if a reader doesn't like it there's not a lot I can do about it. I should point out that the mentioning-me-in-the-same-sentence-as-Betjeman-Housman-and-Hardy thing, while I can't help but take it as a wonderful compliment, comes in the context of an argument that the shortlist lacks experimentation, so you should see it as at least partly a Bad Thing. Still, I'm very grateful to O'Donoghue for what he says.


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