Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Two British Writers Snub the Queen
Winners of the UK Commonwealth Writers Prize are invited for an audience with Queen Elizabeth. Caryl Phillips, a native of Leeds, won the prize for best novel for A Distant Shore. When the invitation arrived from Buckingham Palace, he refused it. Repeatedly. Then the winner of the prize for best debut novel, Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time) was invited and he also refused. Why?
"I'm trying to interrogate British history and mythologies [in my work] and duplicities, and one of the enduring myths is the royal family, which is white and Christian and 'pure-blooded', and on which the sun never sets," Phillips says. A Distant Shore examines the relationship between the British and its immigrants.
"A key theme of The Curious Incident, [in which an autistic boy unravels a murder mystery] says Mark Haddon, is the idea "that no human being is inherently inferior to any other. I felt it would have been hypocritical to meet with someone whose job involves being inherently superior to everyone else."
Read more of their comments in the Guardian

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