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This report is taken from PN Review 115, Volume 23 Number 5, May - June 1997.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

The London Evening Standard does not reach these parts, but I have occasionally bought a copy at Paddington to while away the journey back to Wales. If my luck was in, I would find some item so infuriating that I would spend most of the time composing in my mind a letter to the Editor, which of course I would not send -arguing with journalists is pointless. Brian Sewell, with his far-back, know-it-all arrogance, could on occasion stimulate that surge of adrenalin. It was enormously satisfying to hear him on television confuse Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester (c. 1208-65), with his father, also Simon de Montfort (c. 1150-1218), a petty lord from the Ile de France who led a vicious crusade against the Albigensian heretics until struck down by a mangonel stone (reputedly fired by women and girls) at the second siege of Toulouse. Evidently, we all make mistakes.

I gather from the Guardian that A.N. Wilson has resigned as literary editor of the Evening Standard. He has not gone quietly: his Parthian shot was aimed at bringing down Seamus Heaney - another mistake. Heaney needs no defence from me, but the terms of Wilson's dismissal of genius made me sit bolt upright. Apparently, in his view, if Heaney had been Welsh, his poetry 'would have been lucky to have made it to the pages of the parish magazine'. It is hard to know whether to be annoyed or pleased about this. In the end, I ...


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