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Arts Council defends decision to cut funding for Poetry Book Society

4th April 2011

Arts Council England has defended its decision to cut funding for the Poetry Book Society (PBS).

Writing in a letter to The Times, the council's director of literature, Antonia Byatt, claimed the society's 'reach and distribution was not as wide or effective as other applicants'.

She said the Arts Council has actually chosen to increase 'its investment in poetry and poetry publishing', despite withdrawing funding for the PBS.

Byatt also wrote in her letter that the council hopes to continue its relationship with the society, which will receive funding for another full year.

'[We] will discuss with the PBS how we can ensure the important T. S. Eliot Prize continues,' she added.

The ex-chairman of the society, Desmond Clarke, lambasted the decision of the Arts Council to scrap the funding.

According to the Evening Standard, he said Eliot would have been 'horrified' the PBS, 'the organisation that he himself was instrumental in founding', would not receive funding from next year.

He called it a 'very sad story for poetry lovers'.

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