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Choosing the Best

In response to:

Granta's Best from the October 17, 1996 issue

To the Editors:

Concerning the letter by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in the October 17 issue on his non-participation as a judge in Granta‘s competition to choose the “Best of Young American Novelists”: Mr. Gates and I have different memories of the judging process and the events surrounding it on February 14, 15, and 16 this year. We would have been delighted if Mr. Gates had participated by telephone, fax, or any other long-distance means. We were keen to have his opinion. Our several calls and faxes to him were spread over two days and received courteously by Mr. Gates’s assistants. But our entreaties met no response until, on February 19, he telephoned Robert Stone at his hotel. This call was perfunctory and made at Rose Marie Morse’s suggestion, and I was unaware of it when I wrote the introduction. For that particular error, Mr. Gates has my apologies.

Ian Jack
London

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