Axes to grind

Leo Robson makes the inaugural Hatchet Job Of The Year Award shortlist

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A new literary award is born, as if the world needed another. Though this one, at least, is a little different in tone. Review aggregator website The Omnivore has just released its inaugural Hatchet Job Of The Year Award shortlist. Call it cruel, or a witty intervention on the literary landscape (the prize is a year's supply of potted shrimp courtesy of The Fish Society) it is certainly well poised to garner attention. Not least thanks to the collection of reviewers (and harshly reviewed books) on its shortlist, which includes Geoff Dyer's careful dissection of Julian Barnes's Booker winner, The Sense of an Ending, and Leo Robson's New Statesman review of Richard Bradford's biography of Martin Amis (read it here). Call me soft, but I can't help feeling bad for the reviewed authors, as years of work wins them recognition only for how their book inspired a top-notch mauling. But as a celebration of "integrity and wit in literary journalism" - two things often lacking in the review pages of the national press - the initiative should be applauded.

The shortlist in full:

- Mary Beard on Rome by Robert Hughes, Guardian

- Geoff Dyer on The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, New York Times

- Camilla Long on With the Kisses of His Mouth by Monique Roffey, Sunday Times

- Lachlan Mackinnon on Clavics by Geoffrey Hill, Independent

- Adam Mars-Jones on By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham, Observer

- Leo Robson on Martin Amis: The Biography by Richard Bradford, New Statesman

- Jenni Russell on Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital by Catherine Hakim, Sunday Times

- David Sexton on The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy, London Evening Standard




Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman