In Competition No. 2872 you were invited to submit an author’s acknowledgments page that contains subtle indications that no thanks at all are due to those mentioned.
E.E. Cummings does the anti-dedication in style in his 1935 volume No Thanks, which he self-published with financial help from his mother. Its dedication page contains a concrete poem printed in the shape of a funeral urn that opens with the words ‘NO THANKS TO...’ and goes on to list the names of the 14 publishing houses who had turned the collection down.
This comp called for an altogether more softly-softly approach, with any ill will on the part of the author to be cunningly concealed beneath a veneer of gratitude. Christopher L. Gilbert, Jayne Osborn and Richard Hayes stood out and deserve an honourable mention. The winners, printed below, are rewarded with £30 each. Frank McDonald pockets the extra fiver.
For bringing my book, Suffering the Insufferable, into existence I offer my enduring gratitude to my ex-wife whose raison d’être it was to provide constant inspiration. All her actions have ensured that I never experienced writer’s block. To acknowledge with appropriate gratitude the vast contributions of my parents I would need a poet’s tongue. Larkin would do. I thank my stepson for his help with the stormier chapters; I can truly say he was always on my mind, encouraging me and giving no respite. I wasted no time in reading through the suggestions of Will Hopeton, my old agent. Anyone who wants to make a career in writing would be very lucky to get Will to work for them. Finally, thanks ad infinitum to my witty mathematics teacher whose devotion to the task of curing my stutter gave me much food for grateful thought.
First of all, my gratitude to the woman who bore me and thus made it possible for me to grow up, get an education and write this book. Thanks a million, mother, whoever and wherever you may be.
To my fun-loving, touchy-feely ‘Uncle’ Frank and his cheeky idea of indoor games: time spent with you was a fantastic crash course in the ways of the world.
To the teachers at my comprehensive school who sharpened my wits with their lively flow of sarcasm and an occasional light smack in the mouth: respect!
Sincere acknowledgments to the funding sources who taught me how to jump through hoops.
Finally, due recognition to the ever-thorough security staff at a number of European and US research libraries, archives, etc. I won’t say full-body searches are a comfortable experience, but their vigilance meant I was safe from terrorist assaults.
I am acutely aware of the many people whose manifold contributions demand acknowledgment and recognition. My editor, Joan, whose unique sense of direction has profoundly affected this final draft, the culmination of many years’ energetic exchanges of views and rethinking; Kevin and Susan, whose eagerness and resourcefulness in supporting my efforts never flagged, even in the face of adverse opinions; my parents, defiantly Larkin-esque in their single-minded attention to maintaining the strength of family unity despite the complexity of modern relationships; and, finally, my wife, whose tireless interrogation of every detail, large and small, has ensured a level of painstaking accuracy beyond my capabilities, and whose encyclopaedic memory for every nuanced revision and finely tuned adjustment is keener than any computer programme. It is a commentary on her insistent drive and focus on productivity that this book is now published. How can I thank you all?
I should like to extend my wholehearted thanks to all without whom The Saga of the Vijayanagara Empire might never have been written: to my old uni tutor for checking the manuscript and responding by return of post with no criticisms or comments; to the many commissioning editors for their reluctant rejections and memorable advice; to Hilary Mantel in anticipation of a reply to my request for her opinion of my writing ability; to the Hatfield Historical Society for their promise to bear me in mind as a possible guest speaker; to my dear wife for giving me the space to work by returning with the children to her parents’ house; to the Sri Krishnadevaraya University for their intriguing correspondence which I hope to have translated from Telugu into English and, finally, to the Narcissus Self Publishing Company to whom I am much indebted for eventually producing the book.
This novel could have been written without the constant support and intervention of my wife, Rachel, but it would not have been the same. Her circumlocutive anecdotes concerning her daily visits to Waitrose taught me much about narrative for which I am grateful, while her habits — tuneless whistling, never quite properly tuning in her transistor radio — lent a welcome tension that readers will apprehend from chapter one. For the punctilious clarity with which my ticklish plot is laid out, Rachel is also to be thanked; her charming, incessant, scattergun questioning of its every twist provided both an invigorating urgency to the otherwise painstaking process of figuring it out and a wise and humbling reminder that not all general readers are necessarily intelligent. Above all, Rachel showed me how love and hatred are two sides of the same coin, giving this psycho thriller an authenticity she’d have appreciated — had she lived.
No 2875: verse viagra
You are invited to submit a poem about an unlikely aphrodisiac. Please email entries, wherever possible, of up to 16 lines to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 19 November.