4 February 08 | Chad W. Post

Despite the apparent good news that most of the Arts Council England funding would be restored, Dedalus and Centerprise ended up on the cutting block [all quotes via The Guardian:

In the face of appeals and threats of legal action, Arts Council England has this morning confirmed it is to cut funding from the independent publisher Dedalus Books and the east London literature centre, Centerprise.

As Eric Lane said in this interview, losing this grant will severely impact Dedalus.

“I’m just amazed at their stupidity and the level of malice,” he said. “I can’t be angry, I can’t be shocked because I’ve had four years of this.”

He still “doesn’t understand” why a publisher specialising in literature in translation and new writing – two of the council’s major priorities – has had funding of £25,000 removed.

And this sounds awful as well:

The British Centre for Literary Translation has had it confirmed that funding after 2008-2009 will be subject to specific conditions, which are yet to be spelled out.

Amanda Hopkinson—director of the BCLT and a fantastic translator—expressed some relief and anxiety about the decision:

“However we await with considerable interest and some anxiety to hear the new ‘specific conditions’ which we will have to fulfil,” she said, “and of which we have not been informed.” After a difficult period she hoped that the council appreciates the need to regain trust. “At the end of the day,” she continued, “the Arts Council needs the arts sector more than the other way round.”

Thankfully Arcadia had its funding restored, as did Anvil Press, but what a process . . . Obviously, the Arts Council (or any other funder) has the right and obligation to review its grantees and restructure funding if necessary, but it seems like the process got out of hand this year and led to many organizations spending more than a month focused on fighting with the ACE and trying to get their funding secured rather than focusing on their mission.

All very unfortunate, although there is a silver lining of sorts. Arcadia, together with , Barn Owl Books, Centerprise Literature Project, Dedalus, Enitharmon, Haus, Marion Boyars, Portobello/Granta and Tindal Street have founded the Publishers Liaison Group, “an informal network which will meet from time to time to discuss common funding issues and strategy in regard to Arts Council England (ACE).”

Sounds somewhat similar to Jim Sitter’s LitNet group, which is the national advocacy group for Literature here in the States—another useful and important organization.

Any UK organizations interested in getting involved with the Publishers Liaison Group should contact Gary Pulsifer at gary at arcadiabooks dot co dot uk.

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