Logan, udder man share writing prize
Former Budapest Times journalist and editor Michael Logan is the co-winner of the inaugural Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now prize. Logan’s novel Apocalypse Cow was up against 500 other entries and he shares the prize with David Logan (no relation) for his work Half Sick of Shadows.
The two split the GBP 20,000 cash prize and will get their books published by Transworld.
Michael Logan (left) appears to have his head in the clouds on the receipt of the Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now prize. He appears with Terry Pratchett (centre) and co-winner David Logan.
“It was a long deliberation and although to some it might seem a cop-out to split a prize, we decided that since the existence of the prize was to find new talent then this was the happiest decision to make,” Pratchett said at the award ceremony this month.
The prolific Pratchett was publishing two books a year in his heyday, most frequently of a comical and fantasy bent, such as those in the Discworld series, with great one-liners: “Give a man a fire and he’s warm for the day. But set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life.” Or from The Hogfather: “An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.”
Logan cuts off a child as he is repelled by a police charge during one of the many riots he attended. He is carrying a half-empty bottle of clear liquid and what appears to be some sort of primitive radiation-emitting radiowave-type device.
Kind words for the little people
Logan was magnanimous about the prize: “I would like to say that all my colleagues at The Budapest Times knew I was destined for greatness but this would be a lie. They actually thought I was destined to end up living amongst the bins, scrabbling around for half-eaten sandwiches and cigarette ends, so I’m sure this award has come as something of a shock to them.” The Sage of Somalia is correct: the newspaper did not bother checking up on whether he won the award until two weeks after the fact.
Apocalypse Cow is the tale of a group of socially inept misfits who band together to fight hordes of sex-crazed, bloodthirsty zombie animals. “So in many ways it is an allegory for The Budapest Times’ battle against other English-language media in Hungary,” Logan recalled fondly.
A real tear-jerker
He also found the close-knit newsroom a source of inspiration. “The idea for the story came in 2006 during my time with the newspaper, although I categorically deny any claims that a certain beer-swilling character with a foul mouth and poor personal hygiene was in any way based on managing editor Allan Boyko. Anybody who has met Allan would know this is far from… hang on, it is exactly like him. I hope he doesn’t sue me.”
Logan, who hails from Glasgow, was at The Budapest Times in 2005-2008, with his most notable work being uncannily on-the-spot coverage of the recurring riots in 2006 and 2007. He was the brains and half-wit behind the original What Lies Beneath page, which at the time featured spoof news articles that mocked those in power and reinforced stereotypes about Hungary. He went on to be the Africa correspondent at Deutsche Presse Agentur and now serves as the managing editor at Somalia Report.
Apocalypse Cow will be published later this year. You can follow Logan on twitter (@MichaelLogan) for updates on publication.