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Amis Amiss Regarding Booker Prize Jury

May 30, 1999

Michael J. Ybarra's profile of Martin Amis ("States of Excitement for a Wordsmith," May 16) was informative. It's a pity he did not trouble to correct the author's disinformation about the Booker Prize jury: "I would be less bored," Amis declared, "if the judging were made up of serious literary people. It's actresses, politicians' wives. It's a crap shoot."

This year the committee comprises Boyd Tonkin (literary editor of the Independent Newspaper), Shena McKay (novelist), Natasha Walter (newspaper columnist) and your local Caltech professor of literature, myself.

I should say I regard Martin Amis as a great British novelist. So, incidentally, do my Caltech students (for whom I regularly prescribe Amis' scientific fantasia, "Time's Arrow").


Lord Northcliffe professor of modern English literature,

University College London

Visiting professor of literature,


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