It is beyond my comprehension, and clearly that of many others, that Maggie O’Farrell’s powerful novel Hamnet has missed out in the Booker prize longlist (Hilary Mantel up for third Booker prize as 2020 longlist announced, 28 July). Is it conceivable that intellectual snobbery now takes pride of place over brilliantly imaginative writing and the ability to move the reader at the most profound level? Surely not!
• My heart goes out to staff at Pizza Express, which often provides musical nourishment, as jazz lovers will know (Pizza Express closures take hospitality job losses to 17,000, 4 August). Last year I heard a variety of exciting bands in four different restaurants. If, post-pandemic, we want to keep the music alive, small local venues will be essential.
Member, Musicians’ Movement
• Re your correction (6 August) pointing out that there are more than three public sculptures of black women in the UK, Pobl Fel Ni/People Like Us, in Cardiff’s Mermaid Quay, was commissioned in 1993 to commemorate the diverse and hard-working people of Tiger Bay.
• A statue of Betty Campbell, the first black headteacher in Wales, is due to be unveiled this year in Central Square, Cardiff.
• At a staff Christmas party in a town hall about 40 years ago, the waitress visited each table with plastic sachets of red and white wine (Letters, 5 August). When my husband asked if they had rosé, she cheerfully poured a mixture of the red and white wine into his glass and moved on.
Marske-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire
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