Evelyn Waugh and London Magazine

The Bookseller, a journal covering news of the British publishing industry, carries a story about a new literary prize sponsored by London Magazine. This will:

 …celebrate “exceptional” literary fiction and the 2018 edition will award a stand-out debut novel published in the UK between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2017. The judging panel will be chaired by London Magazine reviews editor Matthew Scott and comprise of journalist Suzi Feay, book critic Houman Barekat, and partner at [co-sponsoring law firm] Collyer Bristow, Steven Heffer. Scott said: “The London Magazine has a long history of publishing young fiction writers, including T.S Eliot, Doris Lessing, Evelyn Waugh and Barney Norris, at the beginning of their careers, and we want to take this opportunity to continue celebrating debut fiction writers from the UK.”


The sponsors are to be congratulated on their efforts, and no one can quibble with their claim of London Magazine’s long history of supporting the work of fledgling fiction writers. One wonders, however, what they had in mind when they mention London Magazine’s “support” of Evelyn Waugh at the “beginning” of his career. There was, according to Wikipedia, an earlier iteration of London Magazine that was published between 1900 and 1933.  This belonged to the Harmsworth interests in the late 1920s-early 1930s when Waugh was starting his career. There is no record in the Evelyn Waugh Bibliography (ed. R M Davis et al.) of that journal publishing or reviewing anything by Evelyn Waugh. Nor does The Complete Short Stories (ed. by Ann Pasternak Slater) record any first publication of a story by Waugh in London Magazine. The Harmsworths also owned the Daily Mail which was indeed an early supporter of Waugh’s work, but that was a separate publication.

When the London Magazine resumed publication after the war, first under John Lehmann and later under Alan Ross, they did publish some of Waugh’s writings, in particular excerpts from his Sword of Honour trilogy. But by that time, Waugh was well established, and it is difficult to determine who was “supporting” whom by these efforts.

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