Publishing News carries a tiny paragraph about a competition for first novels. It seems that submissions can only be made by publishers, a limitation which will certainly reduce the field, and is probably intended to eliminate self-publishers. But who knows? Further details are to be had from Stella@theartsclub.co.uk. Prize: £1,000 plus a posh dinner.
The Arts Club is a once-famous institution but I don't think I realised that it was still in existence. Founded in 1863, it was once the haunt of Millais, Swinburne, Kipling, and others. The web site is coy about membership rates but I doubt that it is cheap.
The Arts Club was, of course, the scene of that wonderful episode in Swinburne's life when he arrived drunk, with a friend. He and the friend found that the cloakroom was full of gentlemen's hats (everyone wore one in those days), and so they proceeded to throw them all on the floor and stamp on them. This reduced both men to hysteria, but the Club committee was not amused at all. I wrote about this incident in my novel The Suppression of Vice. And if I get a moment I might even reproduce that chapter here tomorrow. Come back and see.