Carol Ann Duffy marks the first female laureate

Yay for Carol Ann Duffy, who has just been announced as the first female poet laureate, despite being passed over for the role ten years ago. She will take over from Andrew Motion and end an exclusively male run at the title.

Even better in my view, is the fact that her inception in the role says something about the general climate today when it comes to questions of sexual preference. It’s been reported that the fact that the poet is gay had much to do with the reasons for her failure to beat Andrew M to the role the last time.

Should it matter that she’s not only a women, but also gay? Or course not. But it still feels like a pretty big deal that she (and by extension the things that make her her) is now officially sanctioned in a laureateship that’s lasted almost four hundred years. Good luck to her, and I hope Andrew M recovers from the writer’s block he blamed firmly on the role.

On a side note – I wish all readers were as dedicated that this cool customer. 🙂

Amazon with tail between legs

The complaints came thick and fast when authors, bloggers and readers became aware that tens of thousands of adult and gay and lesbian titles dropped out of Amazon’s book charts. Turns out Amazon made a mistake, a ‘glitch’ they said, and that it never meant to hide or remove these books (including titles from Jeanette Winterstone – one of my favourites).

The Guardian says that the mistake occurred when Amazon was trying out a system to make its lists more family friendly. And Amazon has claimed that the missing books were not only gay and lesbian titles – but covered a broad range of other themes and genres.

But is Amazon telling the whole truth? It certainly doesn’t seem out of the question that it might have just effected an about face when so much criticism was levelled against it. And does Amazon really need to boost a ‘family friendly image’?

It’s pretty scary stuff – Amazon holds a massive sway when it comes to book promotion and sales these days. But I was delighted to see what a huge response the issue got from people all around the world – keep our books, and our writers, uncensored and widely available.