19 JUNE 1964, Page 11

Come to the Fair

As one of the features of the World Book Fair, it was good to see that this week T. S. Eliot was asked to award the 1964 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for poetry. Not exactly a complete surprise in view of his long connection with Faber, but still, a welcome sign of recog- nition for younger writers. I see incidentally that the Fair has been attacked in some quarters as an expensive and unnecessary jamboree which has nothing to do with writing or the interests of the author. To me this seems an obscurantist viewpoint, showing a misunderstanding of the complex society in which we live. Without all the various services represented by the publishers, and which are so effectively exhibited at the Fair, how on earth would the writer reach his audience? In the age of the mass-media is he expected to sing for his supper . . . ?