Sunday, February 23, 2003

Writers force Nestlé to scrap teenage book award

The independent
By James Morrison, Arts and Media Correspondent
23 February 2003

"Nestlé, the controversial Swiss-based multinational, has been forced to scrap plans to sponsor a new teenage book prize after a group of Britain's foremost children's writers told the company that they never want to be entered for the award. Gillian Cross, the author of The Demon Headmaster, and Carnegie Medal winners Melvin Burgess and Tim Bowler are among seven leading writers who have signed a letter stating that they "do not wish to be associated" with Nestlé's prize "in any way". The strongly worded letter, composed by Mr Burgess, accuses Nestlé of continuing to "violate" codes on the marketing of powdered baby milk in the Third World ­ an issue that has seen Nestlé's products targeted by a decades-long international boycott. The latest protest has been backed by Philippa Pearce, the author of Tom's Midnight Garden, and the Whitbread Prize-winner Philip Pullman, who said he was minded to tell his publisher not to enter him for the award. He said: "When I next have a book out in two or three years' time and the publishers suggest it's put forward for this prize, I'll probably say 'No, I'd rather you didn't'.""

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