Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lily Allen read a book once; it was Orange

While we can understand the Orange Prize Judges' motivation in accepting an offer from Lily Allen to let her judge the next prize - with so many prizes for literature now, it'll give it a PR leap over the Costa, the Guardian, the Smarties and the rest of the crowded field - we're not entirely sure they're comfortable with what they've done.

Certainly, Kate Mosse seemed to be selling an idea rather than announcing a judge:

"She is a very vibrant, lively musician and we all like her music," added Mosse. "With the Orange judging panel we always try to seek a broad selection of ages and experiences because it is about celebrating international women's fiction and getting outstanding fiction read by as many women and men as possible".

The Orange judges have previously included actors, politicians and models, and, Mosse pointed out, a singer, Suzanne Vega.

Because, of course, Suzanne Vega and Lily Allen are almost interchangeable.

It might be that Allen is a great choice - although she doesn't list any authors as inspiration on her MySpace page, and we can't think of her talking about books overmuch - she once told the Independent she her "current favourite book" was the Other Boleyn Girl, and there were rumours earlier in the year that she'd been signed up to add a "My Life Story" to the groaning WH Smiths shelves alongside Beckham and Price. It might even be that having Allen onboard will allow a little of her marketeer's idea of cool rub off on reading as a whole. But the Guardian website seemed to be sending out a coded message of doubt:

That Allen "indirectly" (i.e. through her management or record label, we assume) Orange to be a judge is also interesting - could she be hoping a little credibility sticks to her?