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Not to be confused with The American Prospect.
Prospect

Prospect May 2008 cover, featuring a caricature of Christopher Hitchens.
Editor David Goodhart
Categories Politics, world affairs, arts and culture
Frequency Monthly
Circulation 28,000 / month
Publisher David Hanger
First issue October 1995
Company Prospect Publishing
Country  United Kingdom
Language English
Website www.prospectmagazine.co.uk
ISSN 1359-5024

Prospect is a monthly British general interest magazine, specialising in politics and current affairs. Frequent topics include British, European, and US politics, social issues, art, literature, cinema, science, the media, history, philosophy, and psychology. It features a mixture of essay-length analytic articles, first-person reportage, one-page columns, and shorter, quirkier items.

Notable features of the magazine include head-to-head debates between two writers with opposing views on a subject; roundtable discussions, in which a series of experts with varying views on a given topic meet for a discussion, an edited transcript of which is published in the magazine; and interviews with major political and cultural figures (recent examples include Orhan Pamuk, Paul Wolfowitz, and Craig Venter). Prospect has also attempted to revitalise the art of the short story in Britain, by publishing new fiction in every issue, and by organising and sponsoring the National Short Story prize, the biggest award in the world for a single story, which launched in 2004. The first award, of £15,000, went to James Lasdun in May 2005.

The magazine is broadly centre-left, but prizes independence over ideology and its articles and authors span the political spectrum. In recent years the magazine's editor, David Goodhart, has stirred controversy with a series of articles arguing that the increasing diversity of the United Kingdom may weaken the bonds of solidarity on which the welfare state depends. The debate fed into the broader discussions of "Britishness" that have become increasingly common in the public sphere.

Well-known contributors to Prospect include Linda Colley, AC Grayling, Gordon Brown, Wesley Clark, Michael Lind, Michael Ignatieff, Francis Fukuyama, John Keegan, Margaret Atwood, and JM Coetzee.

The magazine has an ABC circulation figure of 27,552 (2008).

Prospect received worldwide attention in October 2005 when it published its list of the world's top 100 public intellectuals, which included Noam Chomsky, Umberto Eco, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and Christopher Hitchens. The magazine asked readers to vote for their top intellectual from the longlist; Chomsky was the eventual winner.

In August 2009 in a roundtable interview in Prospect magazine Adair Turner supported the idea of new global taxes on financial transactions, warning that a “swollen” financial sector paying excessive salaries has grown too big for society. Lord Turner’s suggestion that a “Tobin tax” – named after the economist James Tobin – should be considered for financial transactions reverberated around the world.

Contents

Origins

Prospect was launched in October 1995 by its present editor David Goodhart, then a senior correspondent for the Financial Times, and chairman Derek Coombs. Goodhart came up with the idea of producing an essay-based monthly general interest magazine—a form then unknown in Britain—while covering German reunification as Bonn correspondent for the FT.

Policy positions

The magazine tends to avoid a "line" on specific policy issues. It is broadly centre-left and pro-European, but perhaps its strongest leaning is "contrarian"—it devotes much space to articles debunking the "popular wisdom," on topics ranging from Japan's alleged economic crisis to the Mahdi army in Iraq.

Regular columns

  • "Out of mind," which began as a column by clinical neuropsychologist Paul Broks, who related tales of his patients and their symptoms. The columns formed the basis of a book, "Into the Silent Land," published by Atlantic Books. The column is now written by Alexander Linklater and Robert Drummond.
  • "Washington watch," an anonymously written diary-form column with gossip and rumours about domestic US politics.
  • "France profonde," by Tim King, a British resident of the France countryside. Month by month, King builds up a portrait of life in the French countryside.
  • "Brussels diary," another anonymous diary, this time focusing on EU politics.
  • "Out of Africa" by Richard Dowden, a collection of news items from Africa.
  • "Notes from Underground" was written by Dan Kuper, a cynical and disaffected worker who was eventually sacked from his job on the London Underground.
  • "Matters of taste" by Alex Renton, a food and drink column.
  • "Widescreen" by Mark Cousins, a film column.
  • "Private view" by Ben Lewis, a visual arts column.
  • "Between the lines" by Jason Cowley, a books column.

Since the start of June 2007, the Prospect website has also featured "First Drafts," a blog with several updates daily from the editorial team on politics, arts and other eclectic diversions.

References

  • David Goodhart (Editor). Thinking Allowed: The Best of Prospect, 1995-2005. Atlantic Books, 2005. ISBN 978-1843544814

External links

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