Frances Leviston


21 June 2019

Ineligible

In April, I asked Denise Riley if I could put her name forward as a possible Oxford Professor of Poetry. To my delight, she agreed; not because she wanted to win, or believed she would (we soon learned that Alice Oswald was in the running), but because, despite her strong reservations about the culture of literary competition, she thought that it would be good to present a field of female candidates. But Riley’s name did not appear on the ballot. Like several other potential candidates, Riley turned out to be ineligible because of her age.