Granta apologises for ceremony debacle

Granta has apologised for a major overcrowding problem at last night's announcement ceremony for the Best of Young British Writers list, which saw publishers and agents shut out of the party to celebrate their authors at the British Council's premises.

Scout Louise Allen-Jones described the event as a "fiasco". She said: "What was so distressing was, this prize is so significant and the authors should be going to be our future great writers, but the publishers, agents, boyfriends and girlfriends of these authors could not get in. There were hundreds penned into the reception area of the British Council. It was so upsetting." Audio intended to relay the announcement of the winning names to the reception area did not function, she added.

An editor, who preferred to speak anonymously, confirmed that some stellar authors were among those refused entry to the ceremony, saying: "It was a star-studded lockout."

Granta publicist Saskia Vogel said: "We really are sorry and we really did try our best. Four hundred people sent RSVPs saying they would come, which usually means a 30% drop-off. But every single person came and they brought extra friends. It was really amazing having 4-500 people turn up."

The British Council tried to be accommodating and make sure audio was fed downstairs to those waiting in the reception area, while drinks were also provided, she added.