The shortlist for the prize which celebrates the year's most savage book reviews is surprisingly conservativeby Prospect Team / January 14, 2014 / Leave a comment
It is time, once again, for the Hatchet Job of the Year award. Now in its third year, this celebration of the most savage book reviews of the past 12 months, has, alongside the Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award, become one of the most entertaining events in the literary calendar. The award, in the words of its creators, is a “crusade against dullness, deference and lazy thinking.” It is as necessary as ever.
This year’s shortlist is less exciting than its 2012 and 2013 counterparts. The judges’ selections are solid, with a few standouts, but the general quality seems to have dipped a little. Reliable hatcheteers like AA Gill and Craig Brown earn their place, but it’s hard to see why competent but unremarkable reviews by Rachel Cooke and Peter Kemp, for instance, made the cut.