The Londoner: Bernardine Evaristo hits back at 'condescending' Martin Amis

·4-min read
AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Bernardine Evaristo has slammed Martin Amis for being part of a set who are “incredibly condescending” about the work of authors like her, while being “egotistical about their own”.

“Amis seems to belong to the school of privileged male writers of a certain generation who have benefited from a white, patriarchal society for decades,” Evaristo told The Londoner this morning.

She added such authors “do not like seeing people of colour, working class, female and LGBTQ+ writers publishing good books that do well”. The Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other was responding after Amis told the Standard this week that he hadn’t read any of the Booker prize winners.

“You don’t feel a literary push behind it,” he said, adding, “It’s politics, it’s sociopolitical considerations rather than literary like the Nobel.”

Yesterday Evaristo hit out at Amis’s “arrogance” for dismissing such books.

She now tells us: “I wouldn’t want to consign any living writer to the history books, but I do think there is a massive schism between writers who believe in creating a literature landscape that is more inclusive... and those who think they are superior to any attempts at inclusivity.”

Evaristo concluded: “All fiction, including his own, is sociopolitical.”

BLM UK forms group with £1.2m fund for change

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A NEW future beckons for Black Lives Matter UK, the group which received over £1.2 million in crowdfunding, as it transforms itself into an official organisation.

Documents on the Financial Conduct Authority website show the Black Liberation Movement UK was registered on September 14 by Lisa Joanne Robinson, Adam Elliot-Cooper, and Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert.

The registration document lists four purposes for the group, including “establishing a national campaigning organisation for black African, black Caribbean and black diaspora people in the UK”.

It also aims to "administer a fund for black communities", have "an organising practice which challenges capitalism, imperialism, heteropatriarchy, ableism, xenophobia, colourism, religious discrimination and racism," and work "with those who are actively organising to create systemic change in, for and with black communities."

BLM UK has maintained an anonymous Twitter account and GoFundMe page which has led to some criticism. In June, musician Megaman said “we need to know the persons who is running this”, while others have asked where the cash has gone.

In a statement yesterday the group said it would close the fundraiser this month and had hard at work setting up legal and financial structures.

A spokesperson told us plans would be announced next week.

Doc Brown’s nasty stand-up surprise

(Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures)
(Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures)

Comic Ben Bailey Smith, aka Doc Brown, yesterday recounted a nightmare stand-up gig. Nervous and sweating, he pulled something from his pocket and dabbed his forehead, only to realise he’d used “a pair of my youngest girl’s knickers”.

The new West London Zone ambassador told Emily Maitlis he always carried a spare pair as she was potty training.

He went on: "You know, if I was doing really well I think I could’ve joked about it I think I could’ve joked about it, but dying as I was I was mortified. I didn’t even know how to begin to explain why I had a small girls knickers in my pocket. It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous, I couldn’t wait to get out of there."

Tovey sees big picture as Turner Prize judge

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Russell Tovey, who has just been announced as a Turner Prize judge, tells us his first artistic love: Wolfgang Tillmans. “He sees the world in a way that connects to me,” Tovey said. The actor has a podcast, Talk Art, and a passion for contemporary art. Range.

SW1A

(Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament )
(Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament )

Robert Halfon MP is planning a mentor scheme which will be “just like the national NHS volunteer scheme”. Halfon tells us he is working with businessman Ronel Lehmann, whose idea it was. “People in a job [would] support and mentor someone who doesn’t have a job,” Halfon explained. When we asked his own ideal mentor Halfon picked Alfred the Great: “He survived against the odds and he was probably a better cook than me”.

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Beware of not listening in Parliament. Yesterday, Scott Benton, a Tory MP, grumbled to Rishi Sunak during the economy update about the lack of financial support for businesses under Covid-19 regulations. One problem: he spoke directly after Sunak had announced exactly that in his speech. Oops.