New arts award honours FT critic

Linda Christmas, director of the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at London’s City University, has been the driving force behind a new annual award for young arts critics.

Christmas, partnered by the Financial Times, has launched the award in memory of her late husband John Higgins, who was paper’s first arts critic, to encourage a new generation of arts commentators.

Candidates for the award must be under 30, writing in English about any area of the arts covered by the FT. They must submit six reviews, three of them already published in a newspaper or magazine.

The winner will receive a commission from the FT and will be invited to lunch at the paper’s office with FT critics and the judges, who include the newest arts critic, Lorna Dolan, appointed only this month.

Christmas, theatre and opera director Sir Peter Hall, former chairman of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera Sir George Christie and Antony Thorncroft, a former FT arts editor, make up the rest of the panel.

Higgins joined the FT in 1959 and quickly became features editor. He set up the arts page in 1962 at the suggestion of the then chairman, Lord Drogheda, and editor Gordon Newton.

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