21 January 08 | Chad W. Post

There are two interesting developments in the ongoing saga of the Arts Council England funding cuts that are worth reporting about.

First off, last Friday The Guardian ran an article by Antonia Byatt claiming that funding for literature is actually increasing:

Far from “decimating” the arts, our funding proposals will see a significant increase in investment in the literature sector over the next three years. [. . .]

We are prioritising a number of areas, including poetry, the promotion of contemporary literature in translation, live literature, children and young people, and supporting reading through libraries and audience development.

She goes on to touch upon the criteria the ACE is using, and to highlight two presses for which they’ve proposed funding increases:

We are also looking for regularly funded organisations that work to support the best in literature through being genuinely national/international in their reach and distribution, as well as effective, well-managed, forward-looking and offering good value for money.

Two organisations for which we propose increased funding are Tindal Street Press and Bloodaxe. A relative newcomer to our portfolio of regularly funded organisations, Tindal Street Press specialises in new voices from the English regions. In its short life, its authors have won many prizes and accolades. Bloodaxe Books is among the most important independent poetry publishers in the country, with an award-winning list that spans both homegrown talent and work in translation. Bloodaxe is renowned for its imaginative and adventurous approach to marketing, and its unstinting commitment to developing new audiences.

Back on the other side of the fence, Arcadia just sent out a press release stating that two former ACE Literature Directors—poet Charles Osborne and Dr. Alastair Niven, who is also a part President of English PEN—have signed Arcadia’s petition.

This just keeps getting more and more interesting . . .

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