Understandably, this news has shocked the higher echelons of the literary world, who think that the Orange Prize judging panel should be made up of people who have actually written books rather than Lily Allen, a girl whose greatest literary achievement was rhyming the words 'door' and 'crackwhore' in a song once. But that's just the expected knee-jerk reaction – actually Lily Allen is surprisingly well-read and happily lists her favourite books as "Hary Poter 1, Harri Pottur 2, Haryy Puttr 3, Arri Potoor 4 and Epistolarity: Approaches to a Form by Janet Gurkin Altman."
No, our mistake. That last one should read "Hurriy Botturr 5."
As a pop megastar with her own range of clothes and everything, you might not think that Lily Allen gets to read many books, but you'd be wrong. In fact, Lily is a voracious reader and ploughed through several books this year during that period when she was supposed to tour America but couldn't because they banned her.
In fact, Lily Allen loves books so much that she's been asked to help judge next year's Orange Broadband Prize For Fiction, the most illustrious award for books that aren't about stuff that actually happened and were written by women. It's a big deal, too – as well as the publicity that comes with a win, the Orange Prize winner also gets £30,000 and a bronze statue made by David Niven's sister.
But what – aside from the fact she's a woman and therefore possesses a comparatively high tolerance for pastel-coloured books about superficially successful yet deeply neurotic women who fall in love with their handsome yet fiendish roguish bosses before learning some kind of painfully obvious life lesson at the end – gives Lily Allen the right to judge such an important award?
Nothing at all, say the literati. They're outraged that Lily Allen is even allowed near books in the first place, let alone given the authority to say whether they're good or not. Appalled by this – and the other mainly non-author members of the Orange Prize judging panel, Maggie Gee from the Royal Society Of Literature told The Telegraph the following:
"Where is the seriousness here? Lily would be fine as the light relief, her songs are great. But the chair herself is not an author. There is a shortage of serious writers on this panel. It seems to be another consequence of this obsession with celebrity. We seem to have to have them on panels like this whether they know anything about books or not. If Lily reads a lot, whole books and serious books, then she is a fair choice. But that is not something she is known for. If she has just been chosen for her celebrity then that seems to be a ridiculous thing."
This, of course is an absurd and dangerous view. The argument here is that the only people qualified to have an opinion about books are those who have studied literature for 12 years at an Oxbridge university, when in fact that's the sort of statement that'll put people off books altogether. Lily Allen has obviously been picked as an everyman judge, and her position as a role-model might even encourage more young girls to start reading for pleasure, when the bulk of them currently view it as a bit of a chore.
Besides, Lily Allen knows exactly what she wants from a good book. She wants it to be heavy enough to knock out the paparazzi if she throws or swings it at them, plus she wants it to be thick enough that she can use it to stand on when she's trying to spend her pocket money on a quarter of sherbet lemons at the newsagents. She can't see over the counter if she's standing on a thin book, you see.