Lucy Vickery

Thanks but no thanks

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.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in