Once the anthology was narrowed down to prose there were still a few troublesome decisions to make before any real work could begin. One significant point was the question of inclusion.
There were suggestions to limit entry to the anthology in order to focus it on the course's best work and to make sure recipients weren't overwhelmed and left uninterested by the sheer number of writers. However, in the end this idea was abandoned and the decision made to let in everyone who wanted to be included. After all, it's up to readers to decide what they like best: we're (mostly) unpublished wannabes - it's not up to us to judge who's the best. Sure, we could have argued about it or asked some of the tutors to decide, but in the end this would have led to bitter squabbling, wanton hatred and possibly fisticuffs, or one of those special business meetings that happens by a river-bank at dawn, attended by a doctor and a priest. I've read The Information: I know how this goes. I'm all for literary feuds (I don't know about the others, but I'm certainly sizing people up to see who's most likely to respond to snide remarks in the comments section below The Guardian's review of their first book), but I reckon it's safer to wait until after we've actually got ourselves published. Call me risk-averse, go on.
The same argument applied to ordering the contents. Most anthologies and other fiction collections are ordered according to the whims and theories and prejudices of the editors. There are all sorts of discussions about which bits of books get the most attention (people reading magazines backwards, and so on), but here it seemed fairest and most sensible to bow to the tyranny of the alphabet. Although being called Alec I was tempted to press for first names...
But no. Surnames it is. From A to Z, or, specifically, Bowerman to White, barring anyone deciding that they now write under the name Alfred Aardvark.
And in fact, you can see the list of everyone who's going to be included up there in the top right where it says 'The authors'. Or you can click here, because the internet's kind like that. Over the next few months, as we veer towards publication, I'll be posting biographies so you can see the sorts of folks who'll be included.
Next week, posts on shape, size and scheduling. It's a seriously sibilant, er, sevenday.