Motivated by an amalgam of mischief, outraged vanity and lunchtime ennui, I sent Mr McCrum an open letter today.
The recent announcement of the longlist for the Orange Prize, and the shortlist for the Orange Award for New Writers, caused me to turn back to your 2005 article "Publishers Swap Taste for New Tricks", in which you denounced Macmillan New Writing in the strongest terms. Both Orange lists include Ann Weisgarber's debut The Personal History of Rachel DuPree; many other MNW writers have enjoyed critical and commercial success, including Eliza Graham, Brian McGilloway and L.C. Tyler. While hindsight can make fools of us all, I am sure you recognise now that your judgement was both premature and misconceived.
In the light of the rising reputation of Macmillan New Writing, I wondered if you felt the time was right for a reappraisal of your earlier sentiments, possibly in the same newspaper in which you published them.
In truth my interest in his opinion is limited, but it is only right that we should all be accountable for our opinions, particularly when we are paid for them!
I really should get back to writing novels; I clearly have far too much time on my hands...