Quarto contributors did get paid

Craig Raine ("Lunching for literature", 17 January) suggests that he was misled (by me, presumably) into thinking that contributors to my magazine Quarto were paid when they were not. But they were, and - by the standards of 20 years ago - not badly. For example, the issue for July 1980 (co-edited by me and Craig) starts with Kitty Mrosovsky on theatre (paid £60) followed by Craig Raine on cinema (£51), Christopher Reid on Basil Bunting (£28), and so on. I can be so precise because I still have the office file copies in which payments were recorded, and in this particular case the handwriting is that of Craig Raine.

Craig presents Quarto as yet another example of a magazine that combined literary excellence with financial fecklessness. I agree about the literary excellence, and cheerfully acknowledge his substantial contribution to it. But I don't accept his statements about the financial side, which are demonstrably untrue. On a personal level they are somewhat wounding. I accept his retraction and apology in advance.

Richard Boston

This article first appeared in the 24 January 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Essay - The tyranny of the brands