[DWJ] untraced articles

Meredith MacArdle meredithxyz at googlemail.com
Tue Sep 6 09:21:08 EDT 2011

Hi Deborah and Judith

Thanks for getting back so quickly. Basically, I have no further
information on these articles at all, just their titles. Diana would
have added background details for the collection if she had had the
time, and at the moment her family is too busy or it is too early for
them to go through her papers. I am trying to find out who they were
written for.,

When I Won the Guardian Award is not, sadly, the postscript in Charmed
Life. It is quite short and very funny, and it might ring a bell in
someone's mind, so I'm adding it here:

When I won The Guardian Award
When I won The Guardian Award for Charmed Life (In 1978 I think it
was), I was exceedingly astonished – and also very, very pleased. The
reason for both these feelings was that the judges were all writers
themselves. There is nothing more flattering than having your book
liked by people who do the same thing as you do – because, surely,
they must be the hardest to fool and the hardest to please. They know
how to do it: if they think you'’ve done it right, then you have.
It turns out that I was right to feel that way. If I'’d known then
what I know now, I'’d have been even more surprised and flattered,
because people who have won this Award were always asked to be one of
the judges for next year. I have been doing that. As soon as I got
home from a Book Fair in Rochdale, books began to arrive, stacks of
them, two nearly every day. It was better than Christmas. The rest of
my family began to get rather envious. Until, that is, they saw the
books. Then they said things like `‘I wouldn'’t read that lot if you
paid me!'’ and turned away.
I thought they were being a little unreasonable. After all, as I well
knew, it takes a lot of time and a vast amount of effort to write a
book. You ought to do people the courtesy of deciding you don'’t like
a book after you'’ve read it at least. So I read diligently – luckily
I read fast – three or more books a day. And it did impress me what a
lot of time and what a vast amount of effort these writers had put
into their books. I felt I couldn'’t be so unkind as to dislike any of
them. I wrote long, long notes on each book, pointing out to myself
all the good things these authors had done.
Well. Armed with this heavy stack of kind remarks, I went to London to
meet the other writers on the panel. The judging began.
`‘Now what about this book?'’ said the Chairperson. `‘Fairies at the
Bottom of the Garden, by Selina Slime?'’
And all hell broke loose.
`‘Disgusting! Horrible! Terrible!'’ shouted the writers. `‘Are people
still writing such things? No marks!'’
`‘Then how about this beautiful historical romance?'’ asked the
Chairperson. `‘In the Hands of Crusoe'’s Cannibals?'’
`‘Dreadful!'’ yelled the authors. `‘Nobody gets to eat anybody.'’
`‘Then,'’ said the Chairperson desperately, `‘how about this lovely
description of how it feels to be a child at a bad school – Hero of
the Slum, by Sylvester Glum?'’
By this time I had realised that my kind notes were just hiding my
true feelings, and I began yelling with the rest. `‘Revolting! Who'’s
this Glum trying to fool?!'’
`‘Terrible do-gooding book!'’ bawled all the rest.
`‘Then what about this charmingly poetic---?'’ began the Chairperson.
`‘NO!'’ we screamed. `‘Tear it up!'’
In short, we were utterly ruthless, terribly noisy, and quite right.
There did finally come a book at which we all screamed `‘YES!'’ even
louder. And started reading bits out and howling with laughter and
interrupting one another to say what the best bits were. And it was a
terribly good book.
But when I was on the train, going back home, I did think, `‘Good
heavens! I wonder what they all screamed about my book?'’

cheers, Meredith

On 06/09/2011, Judith Ridge <judith.ridge at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Meredith,
> Is the When I Won the Guardian Award the piece that was published in the
> HarperCollins Charmed Life classic edition?
> Judith
> On 6 September 2011 21:23, Meredith MacArdle
> <meredithxyz at googlemail.com>wrote:
>> Dear All
>> I am trying to track down the origin of a few of Diana's articles, and
>> at the moment all I have to go on is their title. If anyone has any
>> ideas of when and where and why they were first published, or any
>> suggestions for people to contact, I'd be really grateful. This is for
>> a book collection of Diana's articles which will be published by
>> Random House next year.
>> The really mysterious ones are titled:
>> The Children in the Wood (1981)
>> When I Won the Guardian Award
>> The Halloween Worms
>> Origins of The Merlin Conspiracy (for a magazine)
>> Finally, did anyone attend a talk Diana gave in Dundee in 2000 or
>> 2001, or a talk in Boston that she gave on The Heroic Ideal:  A
>> Personal Odyssey? This last was published in The Lion and the Unicorn
>> journal, but I'd like to know what conference/literary fair etc the
>> talk was originally delivered to.
>> thanks very much
>> Meredith
>> _______________________________________________
>> Dwj mailing list
>> Dwj at suberic.net
>> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> --
> Judith Ridge
> Western Sydney Young People's Literature Officer
> Arts and Cultural Development
> Blacktown City Council
> PO Box 63
> (62 Flushcombe Road)
> Blacktown NSW 2148
> --
> My work blog: http://westword.wordpress.com/
> My personal blog: http://www.misrule.com.au/s9y/
> My personal website: http://www.misrule.com.au
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj

Diana Wynne Jones fansite: http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk
Changeover and The Gods Within: http://www.moondustbooks.biz

More information about the Dwj mailing list